Leave it to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) to hold up the laws for music modernization. In August, April Baer for OPB reported, “music industry professionals are lobbying (Wyden) to stand down and allow a bill updating music rights laws to pass,” however; blindly letting another Modernization Act slide passed him isn’t on the senator's agenda. Maybe his impression is similar to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, that which promised to revolutionize the U.S. broadcasting industry, actually loosened some of the restrictions for keeping reporting fair. This April, Radio Ink outlined major law changes. In the article, New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler also said regarding music modernization, "because of loopholes in the law, there has been litigation in federal and state courts with mixed results, and that has put music creators’ rights at risk and created uncertainty for digital streaming services."
Mitch Glazier, President, RIAA communicated, “the Music Modernization Act is based on two simple principles – streamline the licensing system and work towards fair-market-value based rules for creators.” The August OPB story continued, “but Wyden introduced an alternative bill this spring that suggests streamlined laws for older music and less strenuous copyright protections than the Music Modernization Act," (S.2293, the ACCESS to Recordings Act). Tracy Maddux, CEO of CD Baby said in an Oregonian/Oregon Live article, "we urge Sen. Wyden to reconsider his support of the ACCESS Act and to join dozens of Senators in supporting the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447)." Upon looking for further clues, trying to contact his office, and being led to the “Issues” section of his website, there didn't seem to be a section for music, but the section under the "Technology: Copyright" heading said, “he has introduced legislation to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to ensure that security researchers, journalists and owners of everyday devices have the ability to undertake legitimate activities.” According to an August Billboard report, he and the Senate might have reached an agreement.
Some lawmakers are still trying to decide if the Music Modernization Act is a, “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” or not. William Glanz for SoundExchange wrote, “it would be easy to look at the broad bipartisan support for the Music Modernization Act and assume music creators have already achieved major reform. Not so.” Results for decisions with far-reaching consequences such as this take extra consideration to predict and act out. A rumor is that music creators achieve major reform, but it isn't for sure known which music creators are going to end up benefiting the most.
1996, supposedly the year to revolutionize broadcasting, gave more power to monopolies. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer, “Explains the Trouble With The Music Modernization Act,” in which Glazier responded, “the real issue is that SiriusXM wants to avoid paying legacy artists any more money.” With so many changes to get right built into one swift modernization vote, along with vague reasons and overbearing hype to support it, some wonder how to take the right step. Key individuals seem skeptical if the grass is actually going to be greener on the other side.
The 115th Congress (2017-2018) bill H.R.5447 - Music Modernization Act, has passed the House of Representitives and is yet to pass the U.S. Senate. Please read more about this bill at the official Congress.gov website, also available is a list of related bills.
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