Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Hatch-Goodlatte Music Modernization Act of 2018, including substantial revisions to protect and foster the public domain for sound recordings. Earlier House versions of the bill contained a version of the CLASSICS Act that would have kept recordings from as early as 1923 locked away under copyright until 2067. The Senate previously passed the updated bill, taking into account public interest concerns.
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.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Music Modernization Act (2018), a combination of the consumer-friendly Music Modernization Act (2017) and the CLASSICS Act, which seeks to create a “right to be paid” for pre-1972 sound recordings without fully federalizing these works.
Reports now indicate that the Department of Justice has ended its lengthy process to amend the consent decrees governing music publishing in the United States by declining to make adjustments. If true, this would prevent music publishers from withdrawing digital public performance rights from the blanket licenses offered by the two largest performance rights organizations in the United States, ASCAP and BMI. Due to the threat to competition posed by such large concentrations in licensing authority, ASCAP and BMI operate under antitrust consent decrees that govern their licensing practices.