Support for Music Modernization Coalition Letter

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.

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist
President
Americans for Tax Reform

Phil Kerpen
President
American Commitment

Daniel Schneider
Executive Director
American Conservative Union

Lisa B. Nelson
Chief Executive Officer
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Jeffrey Mazzella
President
Center for Individual Freedom

Tom Schatz
President
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Matthew Kandrach
President
Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Katie McAuliffe
Executive Director
Digital Liberty

Jason Pye
Vice President of Legislative Affairs
FreedomWorks

George Landrith
President
Frontiers of Freedom

Tom Giovanetti
President
Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI)

Seton Motley
President
Less Government

Pete Sepp
President
National Taxpayers Union

Lorenzo Montanari
Executive Director
Property Rights Alliance

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

David Williams
President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Sara Croom
Executive Director
Trade Alliance to Promote Prosperity

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