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Latest draft of MMA approved by House Of Representatives

By | Published on Wednesday 26 September 2018

US Congress

America’s Music Modernization Act now just needs the signature of Donald Trump – last seen performing a little stand-up at the UN Comedy Club – in order to become law. The President is expected to provide that signature with little fuss, after which he’ll presumably brag loudly about how he personally made the music industry great again.

The House Of Representatives yesterday unanimously approved the latest draft of the copyright reforming legislation, which had been amended while in Senate. The lower house of US Congress speedily passed an earlier version of the MMA back in April. Getting it through Senate proved a little more taxing – with spats involving SESAC and SiriusXM along the way – but the upper house hotlined an amended version last week. Which is what the House Of Representatives approved yesterday.

The MMA, of course, brings together various music copyright reforms. Perhaps the most important is an attempt to fix the way mechanical royalties are paid to songwriters and publishers in the US, an initiative which will result in the creation of a new collecting society. The act also fixes the pre-1972 quirk in US copyright law and changes the way the Copyright Royalty Board and the rate courts consider what royalty rates are fair for compulsory licences and licences issued by song right collecting societies BMI and ASCAP.

The final version of the act has been named after Orrin Hatch, one of the key backers of the legislation in Congress. Speaking before yesterday’s final vote in the House Of Representatives, he said of the act: “There’s a reason this bill passed the Senate unanimously, and why it will shortly pass the House with overwhelming support. And that’s because all sides of the music industry came together to find a way to make our music laws better. To make them function properly. To update them for the digital age”.

He added: “No side got everything it wanted. But everyone got something. And at the end of the day, we have a piece of legislation we can all be proud of”.