The Senate handed a brand new model of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) as an modification to a different invoice this week, a marked enchancment over the model handed by the House of Representatives earlier within the yr.
The following comes from Mitch Stoltz, senior workers legal professional on the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It first appeared on EFF’s website.
This model comprises a brand new compromise modification that might protect early sound recordings and improve public entry to them.
Until lately, the MMA (previously referred to as the CLASSICS Act) was wanting like the most important document labels’ newest seize for perpetual management over twentieth-century tradition. The House of Representatives handed a invoice that will have given the most important labels—the copyright holders for many recorded music earlier than 1972—broad new rights in these recordings, ones lasting all the way in which till 2067.
Copyright in these pre-1972 recordings, already set to final far longer than even the grossly prolonged copyright phrases that apply to different artistic works, would a) develop to incorporate a brand new proper to manage public performances like digital streaming; b) be backed by copyright’s draconian penalty regime; and c) be with out most of the person protections and limitations that apply to different works.
The drafting course of was additionally troubling. It appeared a return to the sample of a long time previous, the place copyright regulation was written behind closed doorways by representatives from a number of industries after which handed by Congress with out contemplating the views of a broader public.
Star energy, within the type of well-known musicians flown to Washington to shake arms with representatives, eased issues alongside.
Two issues modified the narrative. First, a broad swath of affected teams spoke up and demanded to be heard. Tireless efforts by library teams, music libraries, archives, copyright students, entrepreneurs, and music followers made positive that the issues with MMA have been made identified, even after it sailed to near-unanimous passage within the House. You contacted your Senators to allow them to know the House invoice was unacceptable to you, and that made an enormous distinction.
Second, the general public discovered a champion in Senator Ron Wyden, who proposed a greater various within the ACCESS to Recordings Act. Instead of layering bits of federal copyright regulation on prime of the patchwork of state legal guidelines that govern pre-1972 recordings, ACCESS would have introduced these recordings utterly below federal regulation, with all the rights and limitations that apply to different artistic works. While that also would have introduced them below the long-lasting and in any other case deeply-flawed copyright system now we have, no less than there could be consistency.