Judiciary Hearing Highlights Expanded Support for Music Modernization Act

Jan 26, 2018
Press Release

NEW YORK—Under the leadership of Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the House Judiciary Committee held a field hearing focused on music copyright legislation today in New York. Goodlatte has made copyright reform a priority of the committee, which has jurisdiction over a range of issues.

Witnesses included Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, Booker T. Jones, Aloe Blacc, Tom Douglas, Mike Clink and Dionne Warwick. Much of the testimony addressed the Music Modernization Act, introduced in the House by Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) last December.

In his remarks, Collins said that he had been called crazy for working to bring songwriters, publishers, digital providers and other stakeholders together around a bill to modernize music copyright law.

“I’m crazy about fairness, crazy about what’s right,” said Collins.

Collins also announced that performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI have come to an agreement that alleviates the concerns that the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) had with the Music Modernization Act.

Collins explained, pulling from an NAB statement, “I am extremely happy to announce that NAB and ASCAP [and] BMI have reached an agreement regarding the Music Modernization Act. Their agreement resolves NAB’s concerns about the potential introduction of new evidence into the rate-setting process while preserving ASCAP’s and BMI’s ability to seek meaningful compensation.”

Collins noted the consensus behind this bill and concluded by saying, “Mr. Chairman, let’s mark this up. Let’s make history.”

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced companion legislation to the Music Modernization Act in the Senate earlier this week, meaning that the bill has bipartisan, bicameral support.

The hearing footage and testimony can be found here.