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Rep. Goodlatte To Unveil Combined Songwriter Super-Bill

(Hypebot) – WASHINGTON D.C. (Hypebot) — U.S. Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R, VA ), the powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is set to unveil umbrella copyright reform legislation that combines three major bipartisan bills currently before both houses of Congress.

U.S. Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R, VA) and the House Judiciary Committee that he chairs are set to offer legislation that combines the Music Modernization Act, the CLASSICS Act, and the AMP Act.

Each of these individual bills has received widespread music industry approval, as well as, bi-partisan support in Congress. If enacted, the combined legislation would mean sweeping changes long sought by songwriters and music publishers.

Congressional staff briefed music industry leaders on the Congressman’s plan last week, sources tell Hypebot. Goodlatte, who is not seeking reelection in 2018, has long promised major copyright reform.

Here is a summary of each piece of legislation that will be combined into Goodlatte’s super-bill:

• Music Modernization Act – At the core of this legislation is the creation of a blanket mechanical licensing system that would replace the current decentralized system. Administered by a new ‘super-PRO,’ all artist and publishers would register their tracks; and those, like Spotify, that want to use the music, would license it there. The legislation also amends the U.S. Copyright Act to change how the Copyright Royalty Board sets rates from using a legal standard to one that approximates a willing buyer/willing seller market rate.

How copyright rate disputes are handled will also change. Instead of always being decided by the judicial panel that has watched over BMI and ASCAP for decades, random federal judges would hear each case, presumably providing a fresher perspective. The MMA also eliminates the mandate barring rate court judges from considering sound recording royalty rates as one benchmark when setting music publishing royalty rates.

• CLASSICS Act – Because of an ambiguity in state and federal copyright laws, artists and copyright owners who created that music released before Feb. 15, 1972 receive nothing for the use of their work on digital radio platforms like Pandora and SiriusXM. The CLASSICS Act (H.R. 3301 / S. 2393) would correct this inequity and finally ensure that musicians and vocalists who created those timeless songs finally get their due.

• The AMP Act (Allocation for Music Producers Act) for the first time adds producers and engineers, who play an indispensable role in the creation of sound recordings, to U.S. copyright law. The bill codifies into law the producer’s right to collect digital royalties and provides a consistent, permanent process for studio professionals to receive royalties for their contributions to the creation of music.