In Washington, the Music Modernization Act aims to help byand closing a loophole in copyright law so it better fits the digital era. President Trump signed the landmark bill in October 2018, after it passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.
It is an honor and pleasure to reintroduce myself to you as the United States Register of Copyrights. As the Supreme Court has said, copyright is intended to be the “engine of free expression.” The copyright system provides a critical framework to support creativity, culture, innovation and, yes, “free expression,” to the benefit of the public. The U.S. Copyright Office stands directly in the center of this crucial legal framework as the principal federal entity charged with administering the nation’s copyright law and supporting the vibrancy of American creativity and culture.
New Year’s Day 2019 was a landmark for American copyright law. For the first time in twenty years, published works of expression—including books, music, and films—started moving out of copyright protection and into the public domain.
In today’s fraught political environment, it’s hard to imagine a consensus on anything — let alone on an arts-related bill that ended up being signed into law by none other than consumer-of-all-joy Donald Trump. But that’s what happened with the federal Music Modernization Act.
By the time Roger Lynch took over as the company’s fourth CEO in four years, the chances of rising from the ashes were slim. “Everyone wants to feel like they’re on a winning team, and employees really loved the company but felt like it was losing,” Lynch tells Rolling Stonenow, almost exactly one year after he took charge of the slipping business. But Pandora has actually weathered that year well — and, to the surprise of many, even came out a bit stronger at the other end. Headlines lit up the company once more last month, but with a very different sheen: Satellite radio giant SiriusXM announced its intent to buy Pandora in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal, which will soon create the biggest audio entertainment company in the world. Under new parents and an aggressively remixed business model, Pandora is determined to be relevant again — if, that is, music fans are willing to take it back.
The Music Modernization Act (MMA) is officially law. And, as evidenced by the musician-packed Oval Office from earlier this afternoon, that means a lot of things for a lot of different people. The former bill turned law ensures artists receive the compensation they are owed, encourages fair industry competition, and protects the intellectual property rights of studios nationwide—among other benefits.
There are a number of separate copyrights in music, but the history of ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and the broadcast industry involves only one, the “small” or “non-dramatic” public performance right.
Music legend Smokey Robinson and Nashville-based songwriter Josh Kear urged Congress on Tuesday to pass the first major music copyright reform law in decades, saying that many songwriters are struggling financially because they are not being adequately paid for use of their songs.
The music industry may be close to an agreement on how to pay musicians fairly for their work — just in time for Sunday’s Grammys. Members of Congress will hold a hearing Friday in New York City to discuss a bipartisan bill to rewrite music licensing and copyright laws, featuring testimony from celebrity artists like Aloe Blacc and Booker T. Jones.
“In D.C. you’re never going to have 100 percent agreement, but CLASSICS has the support of Pandora and DiMA, the Digital Media Association, which represents online music services,” said Daryl Friedman, who oversees public policy work for the Recording Academy, in an interview before the hearing.