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.
Sound recordings made prior to 1972 don’t enjoy federal copyright protection. There’s a thorny legal and legislative history behind this, but the end result is that these recordings are only protected under state law. Federal copyright has evolved, with new rights, limitations, and user protections applied to copyrighted works -- but not to pre-’72 recordings. And as the internet became ubiquitous, consumption of these works began to cross state lines, further muddying the waters.
Today, Public Knowledge sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and to the House Judiciary Committee’s Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
Today, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act, which would establish an information database for musical works and sound recordings that users and services could search and would make music licensing more efficient.