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Congressman Ted Lieu

Representing the 33rd District of California

REP LIEU JOINS BIPARTISAN MUSIC MODERNIZATION ACT TO UPDATE MUSIC LICENSING ECOSYSTEM

December 26, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) joined colleagues in introducing H.R. 4706, the Music Modernization Act, which updates the music licensing system with meaningful reforms for the first time in almost two decades. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) introduced the bill with Mr. Lieu, along with Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), and Pete Sessions (R-Texas). 

“Music is a part of culture’s lifeblood. It can transform worldviews, transport listeners and inspire social movements. Music touches all aspects of our society but it has a special relationship with technology. In fact, innovations in sound have changed the way we listen to music and music has changed the way we understand technology. Ensuring that the law keeps up with music and its changing forms is important and necessary. With the support of music publishers, songwriters, and streaming services, this critical bill will provide an opportunity to truly propel the music industry into the 21st century and beyond.

Fortifying copyright law ensures that change makers in the music industry can protect their work. For too long, we’ve had an outdated licensing system that hindered productive relationships and impacted how we listen to music. The House Judiciary Committee has worked hard to bring stakeholders together from across the industry to improve the mechanical licensing system – and this carefully crafted bill reflects the dedication of everyone involved. By creating a new body – the Music Licensing Collective – to match songwriters and publishers with recordings, and by creating a blanket license for streaming services, we can help ensure accurate payments to those who deserve to be compensated for their creative work.

This is an exciting step for both the music industry and music lovers alike.”

READ MORE ABOUT THE BILL HERE

Support for the Music Modernization Act

National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) President & CEO David Israelite, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) CEO Elizabeth Matthews, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) President & CEO Mike O’Neill, Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) President Steve Bogard and Songwriters of North America (SONA) Executive Directors Michelle Lewis and Kay Hanley:

 “We strongly support the introduction of the Music Modernization Act which represents months of collaboration and compromise between the songwriting and tech industries. This legislation enables digital music companies to find the owners of the music they use and reforms the rate setting process for performing rights, ensuring that songwriters and music publishers are paid faster and more fairly than ever before.

“For too long, digital music services have taken advantage of the ‘bulk NOI’ process and often failed to find the correct creators to pay, and now—by working together—this bill ends this practice by creating a private-sector system where money will no longer be lost to inefficiencies and lack of information. The bill also improves how mechanical royalty rates are calculated by introducing a willing-seller/willing-buyer standard.

“On the performance rights side, the bill also replaces the current rate court system with the random assignment of judges used in most federal court cases, and allows the rate courts to review all relevant market evidence into the valuation of how songwriters are compensated.

“We thank Congressmen Collins and Jeffries for their leadership in striking this balance that improves and modernizes our outdated licensing system and gives songwriters the ability to be paid what they deserve across all platforms that use music, including the growing interactive streaming services.”

Digital Media Association (DiMA) CEO Chris Harrison:

"DiMA thanks Congressmen Collins and Jeffries for their work to reform an outdated and inefficient music licensing system that serves neither fans of music nor creators.

“We support the Music Modernization Act because it would create a blanket license, which is critical to a modern licensing system and a great step forward.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the sponsors and the Judiciary Committee to enact legislation that creates a music licensing system that benefits everyone."

NMPA President & CEO David Israelite:  

“The Music Modernization Act brings the laws that govern songwriters into the modern age. This legislation will lead to improved rates for songwriters and will streamline digital music companies’ ability to license music. While there is still more to do to free songwriters from oppressive government regulation, this is a major step forward.”

 

ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews: 

“For too long, songwriters have had to work within an outdated system that over-regulates and undervalues their music. ASCAP and our members have long advocated for a more flexible framework that can adapt to the realities of the modern music marketplace. We thank Congressmen Collins and Jeffries for introducing this legislation which is result of compromise between stakeholders from the music and tech sectors. We are glad to see provisions that address rate court reforms, which should ultimately result in compensation for our members that reflects the true value of their music. We will continue to push for reforms that can help move the entire music industry forward.”

BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill:

“We thank Congressmen Collins and Jeffries for their introduction of the Music Modernization Act of 2017 and for always working to protect the rights of the American songwriter. While we believe there is still more to do to protect the value of the performance right, we are gratified that the Music Modernization Act contains two important provisions that create a more level playing field when determining the fair market value of our songwriters’ music; a wheel assignment for rate court judges and the repeal of 114(i). BMI also takes comfort that the bill’s new mechanical licensing provisions were the result of an important collaboration between the subject matter experts in this area—the mechanical rights holders and the digital services who rely on those rights. While we know this bill is not yet final, we believe it is an important step forward in modernizing music licensing and we look forward to working with all of the interested parties.”

Nashville Songwriters Association International President Steve Bogard:

“This legislation has been years in the making, represents compromises with digital streaming companies and reflects substantial progress in the way digital mechanical royalties for songwriters are determined. When we begin the next CRB proceeding we will be able to actually fight for what songwriters would be paid in a free market.”

SONA Executive Directors Michelle Lewis and Kay Hanley:

“After many months of working together on copyright reform and significant compromises by all parties, SONA is optimistic about the gains for publishers and songwriters that the Music Modernization Act provides. It lays the groundwork for a clear and concise system which will put an end to the mass abuses of outdated regulations, and ultimately gets songwriters and copyright owners paid more fairly for their work. 

“SONA is proud to be a part of this historic bill. We hope this is only the beginning and look forward to continuing to work with members of Congress to fight for the rights of music creators."