Collins-supported bill updating music copyright law awaits president’s signature

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate reconciled differences in the bipartisan Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act, which now heads to the president’s desk for his signature to make the bill a law. The legislation that will update music licensing for the first time in almost 20 years was spearheaded in the House by U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA).

A Senate-amended H.R. 1551, which is a version of Rep. Collins’ original legislation that now incorporates language from several other related bills, received House approval on Sept. 25.

“Creators opened my eyes to the inequities in American copyright law during my first year in Washington,” Rep. Collins said on Tuesday. “Since then, I have been listening to and working with creators across the nation to make our laws work in the 21st century for the entire music ecosystem.”

Rep. Collins on Dec. 21, 2017 introduced the original bipartisan Music Modernization Act, H.R. 4706. U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) signed on as the lead cosponsor of H.R. 4706, which garnered a total of 70 cosponsors. U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced the companion bill, the same-named S. 2334, on Jan. 24.

“I introduced the Music Modernization Act to move music licensing law closer to where it should be,” Rep. Collins said at the time. “Today, the music industry is shackled to laws devised before streaming, and even basic recordings, existed — laws that penalize music creators and music lovers alike.”

“Only by ushering music licensing into the 21st century can we promote artistry and its appreciation long into the future, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with the Music Modernization Act,” said Rep. Collins.

The congressman noted earlier this week that it’s been an honor for him to work with songwriters, publishers, digital streamers, broadcasters, artists and fellow lawmakers “to make the music licensing landscape fairer and freer for everyone who’s ever loved a song.”

And Rep. Collins also pointed out that the measure “found champions in both houses and across the aisle,” as well as in the industry.

Support for the bill, for instance, came from industry stakeholders including the Recording Industry Association of America, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Songwriters of North America, the National Music Publishers Association, the American Society of Composers, the Recording Academy, the Digital Media Association, and the Internet Association.

At final passage, H.R. 1551 included Rep. Collins’ original bill, as well as the CLASSICS Act, introduced by U.S. Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and the AMP Act, introduced by U.S. Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Tom Rooney (R-FL), according to Rep. Collins’ office.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) applauded House approval of H.R. 1551, which he called landmark legislation that creates a blanket licensing system to streamline how digital providers obtain the rights to the music they offer, while also allowing musicians and writers to be fairly paid for their work.
H.R. 1551 also updates existing law to extend digital streaming copyright protections to legacy artists that recorded their music prior to 1972.

“Protecting the rights and legacies of musicians past and present will ensure our talented artists are properly compensated for the art they create,” Rep. Scalise said. “This legislation will ensure that our music licensing and copyright law operates fairly for singers, songwriters, and digital service providers, for the health and preservation of American music. I look forward to President Trump signing this bipartisan legislation into law soon.”