Today Americans for Tax Reform, along with a number of center-right organizations, sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives in support of the Music Modernization Act, which will update copyright law benefiting America’s creative community.

The Music Modernization act ensures that music creators get paid for their work, and makes it easier for streaming services to find and compensate artists. The Act will also create protections for sound recordings that were made before 1972 that currently do not have federal copyright protection. This helps the creators of these works receive long overdue royalties.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced the Music Modernization Act in December. The Bill is pending in the House Committee on the Judiciary

This legislation is noteworthy as it ensures creators are properly compensated and encourages future artists to create music for us to all enjoy in the digital age. The Senate has also proposed similar legislation that has been referred to committee.

The letter can be found here, and the full text of the letter is below.


April 4, 2018

Dear Members of the House Judiciary Committee:

On behalf of our organizations we write to express our support for a package of bills that are encompassed in the Music Modernization Act, which will update copyright law to the benefit of America’s creative community.

The Music Modernization Act of 2017, H. R. 4706, creates a single licensing entity for all digital compositions. This rationalizes the digital music licensing process for both streaming entities and creators, so that distribution platforms can actually find the artists they want and need to compensate. It also raises the Copyright Royalty Board rate-setting standard to one that will better reflect rates that would likely result from an unencumbered market negotiation. Currently, songwriter compensation from digital services is outrageously low.

The MMA also includes the AMP Act, H.R. 881, which creates a process by which producers and engineers receive compensation for their contributions in the creative process of finalized sound recordings. By codifying their right to receive royalties, the bills finally recognize an integral part of music creation.

Under current copyright law, pre-1972 sound recordings are not given federal copyright protection. As part of the MMA, the CLASSICS Act, H.R. 3301, creates protections for pre-1972 recordings by making unlicensed digital transmissions of these recordings illegal, and provides these recordings with the same licensing rules as later recordings. This brings parity for royalties for pre- 1972 and later recordings.

The ability to create and disseminate musical works has never been easier than it is now through digital formats. Creators should be able to use new technologies to spread their work without worrying about which medium provides the best compensation.

These bills update the compensation process in order to provide even more incentive and appreciation for the creative process, and finally acknowledge, in law, the changes that artists and their fans have already implemented.

We request your favorable vote on this bill that brings copyright law closer to the digital realities of music creation and distribution.