(l-r) Producer David Zollo, attorney Brandon Clark, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Academy Trustee Justin Roberts, the Academy's Daryl Friedman in Bloomfield, Iowa
Photo: Courtesy of Sen. Chuck Grassley
Copyright Reform: Producers' AMP Act Introduced In Senate
On March 22 Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with the Committee's ranking member, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), introduced the Allocation For Music Producers (AMP) Act in the Senate. Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) were also original co-sponsors.
The AMP Act would codify into law the way that producers and engineers get paid for their work. They currently can collect royalties through SoundExchange via a voluntary process but the AMP Act would codify this process in the law so that SoundExchange is obligated to pay studio professionals directly, protecting their fair share of royalty payments via legislation. The bill is supported by SoundExchange.
"The introduction of the Allocation For Music Producers (AMP) Act in the Senate amps up momentum for passing music copyright reform legislation in Congress," said Recording Academy Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer Daryl Friedman. "The bipartisan and now bicameral support for the AMP Act marks the first time U.S. legislation would protect the rights of the studio professionals who help create the essence of the recordings we love."
At the GRAMMY Week House Judiciary Committee hearing on copyright reform in January, producer and Recording Academy Trustee Mike Clink explained the importance of the House version of the AMP Act for members of his profession — which extends federal copyright protections to studio professionals for the first time. The hearing also considered others bills where there was general hope the three would be consolidated into a comprehensive copyright reform bill, including the CLASSICS Act, the Music Modernization Act and the AMP Act.
The following month, a group of Recording Academy members from, or with ties to, Iowa met with Chairman Grassley during one of the senator's constituent town hall events. The delegation of music creators explained the importance of the AMP Act as part of a comprehensive reform package, kickstarting the bill’s introduction into the Senate. With Grassley's leadership, all three reform bills now have homes in the Senate docket as well as the House. This one bill represents a great deal of progress for copyright reform because the three major pieces of legislation on which there is industry unity are now pending consideration and review in the Senate as well as the House.
There is more involved than just the three bills but the "united support" of stakeholders announced in January is the foundation for the progress lawmakers and music advocates hope to see. Issues such as satellite radio or even terrestrial radio could have some impact, but the collective effort to see real reform legislation passed this year means controversial items are more likely to be postponed for another Congress.
With positive momentum at hand, it's imperative for the music community to work together to make 2018 the first year this century that major copyright modernization is passed into law.