The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) joined with other members of the music community today to urge Congress to pass a unified piece of music legislation in 2018. More than 20 organizations—representing artists, record labels, songwriters, composers, music publishers, and performance rights organizations—signed a joint statement in support of The Music Modernization Act of 2017, The AMP ACT, The CLASSICS ACT and a market-based rate standard for artists from satellite radio
“We stand with all music creators seeking fairness, and urge Congress to act in 2018 to remedy the full range of inequities that harm creators under current law. Musicians welcome the support of the entire music community in urging Congress to enact a terrestrial performance right. It is time for Congress to end the loophole that deprives performers of fair pay for the use of their work on AM/FM radio,” said AFM International President Ray Hair.
The Music Modernization Act would be the most significant update to music copyright law in over a generation and represents unprecedented compromise across all aspects of the music industry. The bill reforms Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act to create a single licensing entity that administers the mechanical reproduction rights for all digital uses of musical compositions—like those used in interactive streaming models offered by Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, Google and others. It also repeals Section 114(i) and, consistent with most federal litigation, utilizes random assignment of judges to decide ASCAP and BMI rate-setting cases – two provisions that will enable fairer outcomes for songwriters and composers.
The CLASSICS Act (Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act) would benefit artists and music creators who recorded music before 1972 by establishing royalty payments whenever their music is played on digital radio. SoundExchange would distribute royalties for pre-’72 recordings played by Internet, cable and satellite radio services just as it does for post-’72 recordings. Currently only sound recordings made after 1972 receive payments from digital radio services under federal law.
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.
The organizations also strongly support successfully resolving the lack of a terrestrial performance right to provide fair compensation for sound recordings. Music community leaders say it is essential to work together and support related reforms, especially now that Congress is expected to consider and advance legislation in 2018.