Washington, D.C. — The House Judiciary Committee today approved by a vote of 32-0 the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447), bipartisan legislation that updates several key provisions of U.S. copyright law regarding music licensing. This consensus legislation is a product of the House Judiciary Committee’s comprehensive copyright review and was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Vice Chairman Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), former House Judiciary Committee Chairman and current Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and Representative Ted Deutch (D-Fla.)
Below are statements from Judiciary Committee leaders on today’s Committee passage of the Music Modernization Act.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Today’s Committee passage of the bipartisan Music Modernization Act is the culmination of the House Judiciary Committee’s comprehensive multi-year review of our nation’s copyright laws, as well as years of effort by interested stakeholders and many members of our Committee. 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.
“I want to thank all of my colleagues, especially Representative Doug Collins, who have worked tirelessly on our Committee’s comprehensive copyright review and various aspects of our music licensing package. I look forward to a vote on the Music Modernization Act by the full House soon.”
Ranking Member Nadler: “Today’s Judiciary Committee passage of the Music Modernization Act is the culmination of several years of hard work, and I appreciate the many stakeholders across the music industry, and all of my colleagues, who worked with Chairman Goodlatte and me to bring us to this point. This vital legislation will bring the music licensing system into the digital age and I look forward to working with the Chairman, and all those who made this bill a reality, to see that it is enacted into law.”
IP Subcommittee Vice Chairman Collins: “The current music licensing landscape undervalues music creators and underserves music consumers. Outdated copyright laws have produced unnecessary liabilities and inefficiencies within the music licensing system, and stakeholders across the music industry have called for reform.
“I applaud Chairman Goodlatte for making copyright reform a priority of the Judiciary Committee and for taking today’s decisive step to improve the law so that it serves music creators and music lovers. This bill moves the music industry towards a freer and a fairer market, enabling it to leverage the present and future benefits of the digital age. I’m proud to have worked with Congressman Jeffries, Senator Hatch and Senator Alexander to introduce an earlier version of the Music Modernization Act, and I remain grateful for Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Nadler’s efforts to move this legislation forward.
“With overwhelming industry consensus and bipartisan support, this legislation has been passed by the Judiciary Committee, and I hope to see the full House vote soon to usher in these crucial updates to the music licensing system.”
Representative Jeffries: “The Music Modernization Act will improve the licensing process for everyone, making it more efficient and transparent. With this bill, songwriters are more likely to get paid a fair price for their work, and digital providers will benefit from a new licensing collective to modernize the licensing process for digital streaming. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle should be congratulated for their commitment in this effort.”
IP Subcommittee Chairman Issa: “This legislation is decades in the making and will equip our music industry to work for consumers and producers of music for decades to come. This bill is the product of years of bipartisan Committee work and consensus building amongst stakeholders. I’m grateful to Chairman Goodlatte and Congressman Collins for helping to make this a reality. I look forward to seeing this on the House floor and on its way to the President’s desk in short order.”
IP Subcommittee Ranking Member Johnson: “I am glad that the Music Modernization Act received broad support in the Judiciary Committee and hope that it will be considered soon by the full House. This bill is long overdue and will benefit artists, producers, record labels, and digital streaming services. The bill is a compromise among many stakeholders in the music industry and will be one of the most meaningful updates to music copyright law in decades.”
Chairman Smith: “The Music Modernization Act is moving forward with bipartisan cooperation. My colleagues and I have worked with industry stakeholders for years on this historic legislation, which has support from both music creators and digital music service providers. The Music Modernization Act ensures that the creators receive fair compensation for their work and digital music services have an efficient licensing system to deliver what music lovers want.”
Representative Deutch: “As someone who cares deeply, and personally, about music and the incredible people who make it, I feel privileged to help update our copyright laws. We need to modernize the system and allow everyone to benefit from the amazing artists of yesterday and today and the innovative technologies that bring them into our lives. This bill makes notable steps toward fairness and 21st Century sophistication in our copyright laws.”
Key Provisions of the Music Modernization Act include:
Title I – Music Modernization Act
- Reflects how modern digital music services operate by creating a blanket licensing system to quickly license and pay for musical work copyrights
- Discourages music litigation that generates legal settlements in favor of simply ensuring that artists and copyright owners are paid in the first place without such litigation
- Ends the flawed U.S. Copyright Office bulk notice of intent system that allows royalties to not be paid
- Implements uniform rate setting standards to be used by the Copyright Royalty Board for all music services
- Shifts the costs of the new licensing collective created by the bill to those who benefit from the collective – the licensees
- Updates how certain rate court cases are assigned in the Southern District of New York
Title II — Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act
- Provides a public performance right for pre-1972 recordings
Title III — Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act
- Ensures that record producers, sound engineers, and other creative professionals receive compensation for their work
More information on the House Judiciary Committee’s copyright review can be found here.