Thursday, April 26, 2018

U.S. House Votes Unanimously to Modernize Music Copyrights

On April 26 – World IP Day – the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5547) by a 415-0 vote. This welcome news follows closely on the unanimous vote of approval by the House Judiciary Committee on April 11.

FSF President Randolph May and I emphasized the merits of H.R. 5547 in our April 21 op-ed published at The Hill: "World IP Day – An Opportune Time to Modernize Music Copyright Protections." In short, the bill includes important updates to federal copyright law that would better secure copyright protections and royalty payments for recording artists, songwriters, and other music professionals. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, theMusic Modernization Act would: (1) secure to copyright holders of sound recordings made before 1972 federal copyright protections for public performances of their recordings via digital audio transmission; (2) establish a streamlined process for producers, mixers, and sound engineers to directly receive royalty payments via SoundExchange; and (3) enable more timely and accurate payment of songwriter "mechanical license" royalties and also provide blanket licenses for digital streaming services. 

For more on the Music Modernization Act, read our World IP Day op-ed in The HillPrior blog posts also analyze music copyright reforms from previous bills that have since been combined in H.R. 5547.