Music Modernization Act: Changes in Digital Copyright to Get Artists FairPay for Musical Streams  

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Allows for a simplified process where the owners of digital music rights can be paid for songs which are played on online streaming services.  Due to the increasing popularity of these platforms, the MMA was needed to allow artists fair pay in a digital era. The MMA has three primary objectives stated in the bill:

  • MMA also allows for royalties to be paid to a song’s producer when the song is played over satellite and online radio services.  This marks an initial attempt to have producers be added to the group that receives digital music royalties
  • A clause to allow for payment of royalties for songs written before 1972 to include both songwriters and performers.  In the past it was In October of 2018 President Trump signed into law with the bipartisan support of Congress The Music Modernization Act(MMA).  The MMA made sweeping changes to digital copyright law to allow for artists tobe paid fairly for content streamed over digital servers.
  • In the past, it was more unclear if artists could be paid royalties for songs performed live that were recorded by fans and then streamed digitally.   

The bill had a few opponents related to their personal expense if the bill passed, namely SiriusXM Satellite Radio.  There were no major objections during the oral arguments over the bill made by legislators. Indeed it was a moment where Congress honored the arts and musicians.   In a Congress so divided by many issues, it was a unique showing of bipartisan support for fair pay for musicians and producers. Because of the rise of streaming services, the majority of revenue in the music industry is generated by the likes of Spotify, Apple, Amazon and Pandora.No longer will it be so frustrating for artists to get paid for their work since it is now a simple,streamlined process.  Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican from the state of Tennessee formally called the measure up for passage by unanimous consent via a voice vote and took the honorary step of naming the bill after retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the bill’s chief champion in the Senate. He had this to say about the MMA, “It’s the most important piece of legislation in a generation to help make sure songwriters in our country are paid and are paid a fair market value for their work.”  If you have any questions about digital music rights, call a trademark attorney turns to today.