The House of Representatives has passed a landmark copyright reform bill that looks set to have a huge impact on music creators.

The Music Modernization Act (MMA) enjoyed wide bipartisan support—it passed unanimously out of the Judiciary Committee on 4/11—and assuming it passes the Senate and is signed by the President, it will bring changes to a system that has operated based on bygone technologies and economics. 

The Recording Academy, RIAA, performance-rights organizations (PROs), the American Association of Independent Publishers (AIMP), American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and many other organizations have championed the bill, as have recording artists and songwriters.

Under the new law, the DSPs will be granted blanket licenses and be obligated to fund a Mechanical Licensing Collective, which will help create a database of songwriter information to make the matching of writers and publishers to songs simpler and more transparent.

Meanwhile, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) will be moved toward a marketplace-driven mechanism for setting rates. PRO consent-decree case consideration will also be streamlined, as ASCAP and BMI—previously limited to assigned judges—will be able to see any Southern District of New York judge on a “wheel” to settle rate disputes. These courts will now be permitted to consider such factors as royalties for recordings in setting market value, previously verboten under copyright law.

"The MMA is a game-changing piece of legislation and its passage in the House of Representatives is a terrific result for songwriters and publishers."—Marty Bandier

Also, thanks to the closing of an appalling loophole, pre-1972 compositions will finally enjoy the same compensation from digital services as do contemporary songs.

For a more thorough overview of the matter, go here

Let the quotes begin!

“The MMA is a game-changing piece of legislation and its passage in the House of Representatives is a terrific result for songwriters and publishers," cheered Sony/ATV ruler Marty Bandier. This brings us one step closer to ensuring that songwriters and publishers are properly recognized for their essential contribution to the streaming success story that has transformed the music industry’s fortunes. We now look forward to a positive vote in the Senate and this becoming law.”

"Music creators compose the soundtrack to our lives. These creators deserve to be paid a fair wage for their work," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "The passage of the Music Modernization Act in the House of Representatives is a historic step forward for all music creators, ensuring that they are credited, paid, and shown the respect they deserve for the impact they have on our culture and daily life. We are honored that [lobbying confab] GRAMMYs on the Hill helped to pave the way for these long overdue updates."

The Recording Academy instantly e-blasted members to urge Senate passage of the law.

"Today’s passage of the Music Modernization Act by such a significant margin underscores the widespread consensus that our music licensing system needs immediate updating," declared ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. After years of advocating for reform, we are thrilled that our country’s leaders are now paving the way for a brighter future for music creators who have struggled under outdated laws for far too long. We thank the House, especially our many congressional champions like Reps. Goodlatte, Nadler, Collins and Jeffries, for their hard work and recognition of music’s massive cultural and economic significance to our country. We urge the Senate to take up this industry-supported bill without delay."

“The House passage of the Music Modernization Act is truly historic for songwriters and the entire music ecosystem which they fuel,” said NMPA head David Israelite. “The MMA improves how songwriters are paid and how their work is valued, both of which are long overdue. The bill also helps digital streaming companies by giving them access to all the music their consumers want to enjoy. I am immensely grateful to Congressmen Doug Collins and Hakeem Jeffries who have seen this process through from the beginning and have stood by songwriters through a complex and lengthy collaboration process, and to Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Nadler for getting this bill to the House floor. Today’s vote sends a strong message that streaming services and songwriters can be on the same side—pushing for a better future for all. We now look forward to the Senate advancing the MMA and it ultimately becoming law.”

"This is an historic day for music creators," exulted SoundExchange CEO Michael Huppe. "Today’s overwhelming support in the House for the Music Modernization Act reflects the bill’s widespread consensus, both across the aisle and across the music industry. This legislation stands to benefit artists, songwriters, labels, publishers, studio producers and others – many of whom are represented by the SoundExchange Companies. The Music Modernization Act includes provisions SoundExchange has advocated for over many years, as we work to advance fair treatment for all creators involved in bringing our music to life."

Rumors that half the Congressional representatives lining up to vote on this measure think MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts couldn’t be confirmed at presstime.

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