Law Professors Urge Senate Judiciary Committee to Reject or Amend CLASSICS Act

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Yesterday, more than 40 intellectual property law professors sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and all members of the committee, urging them to reject or, at a minimum, amend the CLASSICS Act to ensure that its provisions are in line with existing federal copyright law.

The Senate recently combined the Classics Act, a flawed bill that hurts consumers, with the Music Modernization Act, a bill that creates a database of songwriters and performers to ensure that creators receive fair compensation for their work. Public Knowledge supports the Music Modernization Act, but agrees with these law professors that the CLASSICS Act harms the public interest. Public Knowledge contends that the CLASSICS Act fails to provide full federal protection for pre-1972 sound recordings, making it out of sync with the rest of copyright law.

The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“The expert consensus is clear: The CLASSICS Act is a problematic attempt to shortcut full federalization of pre-1972 copyrights. At best a half-measure, at worst a ploy to avoid difficult but necessary conversations about artist and consumer rights, CLASSICS complicates the status of legacy recordings without any countervailing benefit to protect nonprofit users and archivists. We welcome the insight of the more than 40 professors on this letter and look forward to working to bring true reform and harmonization to these works.”  

You may view the letter here. You may also view Meredith Rose’s testimony from today’s hearing on “Protecting and Promoting Music Creation for the 21st Century” for more information on the CLASSICS Act and why it should be amended or rejected from the Music Modernization Act.

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