Washington, DC — Today, the House voted to pass H.R. 5447, the Music Modernization Act, a bill which reforms and updates the way songwriters and artists are compensated.The Music Modernization Act reforms section 115 of the Copyright Act and creates a blanket license for mechanical reproduction royalties. A collective will streamline licensing, create an ownership database, and search for owners who should receive royalties. The bill improves royalty rate proceedings for ASCAP and BMI and would provide opportunity for songwriters to obtain fairer rates for public performances of their works. The bill also provides federal protection for sound recordings that were made before February 15, 1972, which would allow legacy artists to be compensated for pre-1972 music played on digital platforms. And finally, the bill requires SoundExchange to distribute royalties to producers upon receiving letters of instruction from artists. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) is an original cosponsor of the bill and published an op-ed on it with Rep. Doug Collins last week. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
“Music is at the heart of how we experience life. We count on the right song to help us express a moment better than we could ourselves. For music creators, their works help them support their families, keep a roof over their heads, and food on the table. But, for far too long, I’ve heard from songwriters whose compensation were less than pennies per ‘spin’ online for number one hits. And, I’ve heard from music legends who are touring well into their 70s, because their works created before 1972 are not eligible for royalties on digital broadcasts.
“This bill will help bring our copyright law into the digital era and address the gaps that prevent creators from receiving fair compensation for their work. I’m thrilled that the House voted today to pass this important bill to help our treasured creators.”