The Music Modernization Act
On April 26, the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Representatives Robert Goodlatte (R-VA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and other congressional champions of music creators’ rights, passed the Music Modernization Act of 2018 (MMA) by 415-0.
The Music Modernization Act would help songwriters earn fairer compensation for performances of their work through two key provisions:
- Reforming rate court by replacing a single rate court judge for each PRO with different judges randomly assigned to each rate-setting proceeding; and
- Amending Section 114(i) of the Copyright Act to enable the rate court judge to consider royalties paid to recording artists when determining what streaming services will pay songwriters for the exact same performance. Currently, recording artists can make six to ten times more than songwriters.
In addition to these reforms, the bill would also eliminate the bulk “NOI” loophole, adopt a “willing buyer, willing seller” standard for mechanical royalties, ensure public performance rights for pre-1972 recordings (CLASSICS Act) and properly compensate creative professionals (AMP Act). For more information on what is included in the House version of the bill, click here.
The MMA is now before the Senate, where Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and others previously introduced a Senate companion bill. Though the Senate version of this legislation does not yet include the CLASSICS or AMP Acts, it has the same overall goal of adapting music licensing laws to the digital age.