House OKs music measure

'Work for hire' provision of '76 Copyright Act restored

WASHINGTON — Moving quickly, the House of Representatives Tuesday passed a measure restoring to recording artists the right to reclaim their original master recordings after 35 years.

There was no opposition to the emergency legislation, approved in a voice vote after being urged to action by the bipartisan duo authoring the bill, Reps. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.)

The legislation, which now goes to the Senate for endorsement and is supported by artists and the recording industry alike, would reinstate the “work for hire” provision of the Copyright Act of 1976. Provision was overturned last year through an amendment inserted in an unrelated telecommunications bill.

Issue raised

A bitter controversy ensued, with Coble calling a special hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts & Intellectual Property, which he chairs. Intense negotiations among lawmakers, reps of the recording industry and artists followed.

Coble, swayed by the appeal, co-authored the repeal measure with Berman and introduced it immediately upon Congress’ return to work after Labor Day.

The Senate is not expected to oppose the measure.

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