Music Modernization Act (USA) – update

The US Music Modernization Act passed in the House of Representatives unanimously on 25 September 2018. The bill will now be sent to President Trump for signature.

This Act will reshape the music licensing landscape to bring it into the 21st century by addressing a new way to approach mechanical publishing licensing amongst other things.

There are three separate pieces of legislation:

  1. The first reforms section 115 of the US Copyright Act to create a single licensing entity to administer the mechanical reproduction rights for all digital uses of musical compositions (including streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify).
  2. The second ensures that songwriters and artists receive royalties on pre-1972 songs. Currently only sound recordings made after 1972 receive payments from digital radio services under federal law.
  3. The third is the Allocation for Music Producers Act which adds producers and engineers rights to receive royalties to US copyright law.

This historic legislation will bring much needed reforms to the music industry allowing for resilience in an increasingly digital environment and greater transparency and fairness for those involved in the creation process.

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