Senators Introduce Bill to Extend Copyright to Classic Recordings

WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic and Republican senators introduced legislation to extend copyright protection to music sound recordings before 1972, giving artists a way to receive royalties when their works are played on satellite and digital radio services.

Almost 50 years ago, federal copyright protection was extended to sound recordings, but it applied only to music made after Feb. 15, 1972. Artists and labels have pressed for changes in the copyright law as streaming and satellite platforms increasingly rely on ’50s and ’60s recordings as part of their channel lineups.

The legislation is backed by the Recording Industry Association of America and Pandora, along with Sound Exchange, which would handle the distribution of royalties for the pre-1972 recordings.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-Tenn.), Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are the initial sponsors of the legislation, which is called the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society Act, or CLASSICS Act. It is similar to legislation that was introduced in the House last year.

Record labels and artists have pursued royalties for the pre-1972 recordings in state courts, including litigation against SiriusXM, but the CLASSICS Act is designed to address the patchwork of laws in different jurisdictions. In a statement, Mary Wilson of The Supremes said that songs that the group recorded in the 1960s, like “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Baby Love” are treated with “less value” by SiriusXM channels than their 1976 hit “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking.”

Dionne Warwick, who recently testified at a House hearing in New York on the lack of copyright protection, said in a statement, “This is not only a real harm to these artists who rely on royalties as their income, but it’s also just plain wrong.  Thankfully, this legislation would show the artists who’ve created some of our most beloved music not only admiration but respect.”

The legislation would not address what has long been a goal of artists and labels: establishing a performance right when their works are broadcast over the air. The music industry has clashed with broadcasters over previous efforts to pass legislation.

More Politics

  • Omarosa and Kwame Jackson

    Ex-'Apprentice' Contestant Kwame Jackson Wants No Part in Omarosa 'Tomfoolery' (EXCLUSIVE)

    WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic and Republican senators introduced legislation to extend copyright protection to music sound recordings before 1972, giving artists a way to receive royalties when their works are played on satellite and digital radio services. Almost 50 years ago, federal copyright protection was extended to sound recordings, but it applied only […]

  • Trump Omarosa

    Trump Campaign Makes Legal Claim Against Omarosa Manigault Newman

    WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic and Republican senators introduced legislation to extend copyright protection to music sound recordings before 1972, giving artists a way to receive royalties when their works are played on satellite and digital radio services. Almost 50 years ago, federal copyright protection was extended to sound recordings, but it applied only […]

  • At&t Time Warner Stock Index

    American Cable Association Urges Appeals Court to Reverse AT&T Antitrust Decision

    WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic and Republican senators introduced legislation to extend copyright protection to music sound recordings before 1972, giving artists a way to receive royalties when their works are played on satellite and digital radio services. Almost 50 years ago, federal copyright protection was extended to sound recordings, but it applied only […]

  • Trump Calls Omarosa Manigault Newman a

    Trump Calls Omarosa a 'Dog' After CBS News Plays Another Secret Recording

    WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic and Republican senators introduced legislation to extend copyright protection to music sound recordings before 1972, giving artists a way to receive royalties when their works are played on satellite and digital radio services. Almost 50 years ago, federal copyright protection was extended to sound recordings, but it applied only […]

  • Armed police outside the A&E entrance

    Suspected Terrorist Attack in Central London Leaves Several People Injured

    WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic and Republican senators introduced legislation to extend copyright protection to music sound recordings before 1972, giving artists a way to receive royalties when their works are played on satellite and digital radio services. Almost 50 years ago, federal copyright protection was extended to sound recordings, but it applied only […]

  • Donald Trump

    Trump Responds to 'The Apprentice' Claim: 'I Don't Have That Word in My Vocabulary'

    WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic and Republican senators introduced legislation to extend copyright protection to music sound recordings before 1972, giving artists a way to receive royalties when their works are played on satellite and digital radio services. Almost 50 years ago, federal copyright protection was extended to sound recordings, but it applied only […]

  • Omarosa ManigaultWhite House Correspondents' Dinner, Arrivals,

    Omarosa Discloses Recording of President Trump Reacting to Her Firing

    WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic and Republican senators introduced legislation to extend copyright protection to music sound recordings before 1972, giving artists a way to receive royalties when their works are played on satellite and digital radio services. Almost 50 years ago, federal copyright protection was extended to sound recordings, but it applied only […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content