The Music Modernization Act has passed in the House of Representatives unanimously following a vote for passage in the Senate last week. This clears the way for the bill to be sent to President Trump’s desk for signature and with it will come the most sweeping changes to archaic copyright laws.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called the MMA “crucially important” earlier this year, stating, “our music licensing laws are convoluted, out-of-date, and don’t reward songwriters fairly for their work. They’ve also failed to keep up with recent, rapid changes in how Americans purchase and listen to music.” The bill was overwhelmingly supported by the industry.
The bill, now called the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act” (H.R. 1551), combines three separate pieces of legislation:
– The Music Modernization Act of 2018, S.2334, introduced by Hatch and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in January, which updates licensing and royalties as pertains to streaming.
– The CLASSICS Act (or Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act), introduced in February by Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Kennedy (R-LA) to ensure that songwriters and artists receive royalties on pre-1972 songs.
– The AMP Act (or Allocation for Music Producers Act), introduced in March by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley(R-LA) and ranking committee member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.) with the support of and Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).
The version that passed in the Senate last week differed from the version that passed in the House back in April, but there will not be a conference committee to “reconcile” the two bills. Instead, the House agreed to take up the bill as amended by the Senate.
What happens next? It will take a day or two for the House to enroll the bill, after which it will be sent to the Executive Secretary at the White House. Once the Executive Secretary receives the bill, the President then has 10 days (including weekends) to sign it. If he chooses not to sign it, and Congress is still in session, the bill still becomes law.
It is anticipated that President Trump will sign the bill.