Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Jerrold Nadler
Photo: Sean Zanni/WireImage.com
House Judiciary Committee Approves Music Modernization Act
The Recording Academy has been trumpeting the Music Modernization Act a lot lately, and for good reason. Since rumors broke on the comprehensive bill in January, which garnered historic support from the far reaches of the music industry, the Academy has remained optimistic and enthusiastic that the MMA would pass Congress this year. Now, that dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.
On April 10 House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and 29 additional members of the House of Representatives introduced the MMA. Today, the bill, H.R. 5447, went to the House Judiciary Committee for markup, where it passed unanimously with a vote of 32–0 following review.
From here, the MMA will proceed to the full House for a vote in the near future, and then attention turns to the Senate who will be tasked with considering similar, comprehensive reforms. A Senate Judiciary hearing and markup on music licensing reform is anticipated in the next few months.
The MMA marks a historic step forward for music legislation, which hasn't been updated in a generation. The comprehensive package combines three previous bills, including a songwriter-focused Music Modernization Act (H.R. 4706), which establishes an independent board to handle mechanical royalties while offering digital music services a "safe harbor" from copyright infringement lawsuits.
It also includes the CLASSICS Act (H.R. 3301), which requires digital services to pay for songs recorded prior to 1972, and the Allocation for Music Producers Act (H.R. 881), which codifies into law the way that producers and engineers get paid royalties for their work on sound recordings.
The current version of the MMA has also adopted a feature of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act (H.R. 1836) to update how the Copyright Royalty Board determines the rate digital services pay for recordings.
The Music Modernization Act is the first major update to our music licensing laws in decades. Will help ensure American music creators are properly recognized and rewarded for their works, and is vital to promoting American creativity and innovation in the digital age.
— Bob Goodlatte (@RepGoodlatte) April 10, 2018
"This legislation, which is the first major update to our music licensing laws in decades, brings early 20th century music laws for the analog era into the 21st Century digital era," said Goodlatte.
"I look forward to working with [Chairman Goodlatte], and all those who made this bill a reality, to see that it is enacted into law," added Nadler.
"We are thrilled to celebrate the introduction of the Music Modernization Act," Neil Portnow, President and CEO of the Recording Academy told Billboard. "This historic bill has been a goal of the Recording Academy for several years as it unites the music community under one piece of legislation and provides meaningful updates to copyright law to help all music creators.
"This collaboration is the kind of work that changes the game for the music industry. Congress is recognizing the impact and cultural significance of work before 1972, while paving the way for the next generation of music creators."