The House of Representatives late Tuesday passed the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA), sending the first reform of music copyright law in decades to the White House for President Trump’s expected signature.
The MMA includes language that will formally establish a role for Congress as the Department of Justice reviews consent decrees with the two largest performing rights organizations — ASCAP and BMI — which collectively license over 90% of the musical works that are played on local radio and television stations.
The NAB was quick to react.
NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith said, “NAB is proud to stand with our friends from every corner of the music industry and applauds House passage of the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act. This critical legislation will benefit songwriters, legacy recording artists, producers, digital streaming services, and music listeners. The MMA is the culmination of a years-long process to find consensus solutions to music licensing problems. Its overwhelming support would not have been possible without the leadership of Representatives Collins and Jeffries, Senators Hatch, Whitehouse, Alexander and Coons, Chairmen Goodlatte and Grassley, and Ranking Members Nadler and Feinstein.
“We are particularly supportive of a provision in this legislation that ensures an enhanced congressional review of any DOJ changes to the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. These decrees are essential to a functioning music marketplace, and any action to terminate them will now be preceded by appropriate Congressional oversight to protect the interests of songwriters, licensees, and consumers of music.”
Chris Israel, Executive Director of the musicFIRST Coalition, was ecstatic.
“We should all feel proud,” he said. “We all helped fix a copyright system that’s been broken for decades. We made sure that artists who recorded songs before February 15, 1972 are going to be paid fairly for their hard work. We helped the next generation of music creators understand that this country really does value music.