U.S. music copyright law could see a big change

| Sep 25, 2018 | Licensing |

Among the things that can have major economic implications for songwriters and other individuals in the music industry are copyright matters. So federal copyright law regarding music can be very impactful for these entertainment professionals. Such law could soon be changing. This is due to a bill the U.S. Senate passed last week.

The bill is called the Music Modernization Act. Among the things it would do are:

  • Create a body (run by songwriters and publishers) for identifying copyright holders and paying out royalties when it comes to songs played on streaming services
  • Set into law a new digital royalty for song engineers and producers
  • Eliminate a loophole that allowed for royalty-free playing by internet radio companies of music recorded prior to 1972
  • Put in place a new legal standard for the setting of royalty rates

These measures are aimed at improving the licensing process and making royalty payments fairer in today’s streaming-heavy environment.

The bill enjoys support from a wide range of sources politically and within the music industry. Prior to the Senate’s recent approval of the bill, a version of the bill was approved by the House.

The bill would become a law if a reconciled version receives House approval and the president then signs it. The bill’s supporters do not anticipate major problems with either of these two steps.

What are your thoughts on this proposed change to music copyright law? Do you think it will ultimately become law? What impacts do you think it will have for songwriters and other members of the music industry?

One wonders what sorts of changes this bill, if passed, would lead to when it comes to the types of legal issues that arise for individuals in the music industry related to licensing and royalties.

When songwriters or other music industry professionals run into problems or challenging issues regarding copyright matters, it can be critical for them to promptly seek out experienced legal guidance on the issues.

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