Music Modernization Act Signed Into Law

The Music Modernization Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Thursday. “The Music Modernization Act closes loopholes in our digital royalty laws to ensure that songwriters, artists, producers and providers receive fair payment for the licensing of music,” he said.

Trump added, “They were treated very unfairly. They’re not going to be treated unfairly anymore.”

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), includes a number of provisions such as establishing a SoundExchange-like entity for songwriters, adjusting rate standards, and creating a public performance right for pre-1972 recordings. However, the legislation does not include a new performance tax on terrestrial broadcasting.

Also significant, the Senate added a provision into the final bill enhancing congressional review over movement by the U.S. Department of Justice to terminate existing consent decrees with ASCAP and BMI, performing rights organizations that together cover more than 90 percent of musical works broadcast over the air.

Notably, Hatch called this “the most important copyright legislation in a generation.” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a key cosponsor in the effort, added, “Our success is the result of most parts of the music industry – songwriters, publishers, digital music companies and broadcasters – working together on what they agree on instead of fighting over what they disagree about. It has taken us several years to get to this point, and I’m glad this very important legislation is now law.”

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: October 12, 2018

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