FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28th, 2018
Content Creators Coalition & MusicAnswers Applaud the Revision and Passage of the Music Modernization Act by the Senate Judiciary Committee
[Washington, D.C.] — The Content Creators Coalition and MusicAnswers released today the following statement on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote in support of the Music Modernization Act.
C3 and MusicAnswers applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to advance the Music Modernization Act, while incorporating key changes we had urged to make the legislation stronger, more transparent, and more equitable.
The MMA will strengthen the music ecosystem and all its participants, including songwriters, publishers, performing rights organizations, artists, record companies, music services and fans. It ensures digital music services will pay fair royalties for every song they stream, establish a better standard for determining royalty rates, and eliminate some out-of-date provisions of the PRO consent decrees. In return, digital music services get certainty, legal protection, and new streamlined tools to bring more music to more people at lower cost.
It’s a reasonable bargain, and, therefore, we have consistently and publicly supported the basic construct of the legislation.
We are especially grateful that the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), was willing to engage with our organizations on ways to improve the bill and include in the Managers Amendment approved today key protections for creators and the public.
As a result, the MMA now provides greater transparency, including rigorous audits to make sure that royalties are flowing to the correct parties, a commitment to educating all music creators about their rights and the royalties due them collected under the new Music Licensing Collective (MLC), a requirement to study and follow best practices in order to find the proper owners of unclaimed royalties, and increased clarity regarding who owns the data generated by the new system.
While we support the legislation and are proud of the changes we have achieved as artist and songwriter advocates, we continue to have concerns about three key issues: whether the entity that is designated as the MLC is being foreordained by the bill and precludes competition with the MLC; the composition of the Board of Directors of the MLC, which is unduly tilted towards major publishers; and the methods used to distribute royalties from works where even using best practices the authors could not be identified. We urge the full Senate and the House to consider further improvements to those flawed provisions and we call on the Copyright Office to ensure in implementation of the final legislation that no stakeholder group can dominate the MLC and that all royalties are distributed in a fair and equitable and non-self-interested manner.
The process leading to this moment has been strong in many ways. But it has also included its fair share of divide-and-conquer tactics and efforts by powerful incumbent forces to crowd out grassroots organizations like ours and to divide the music community within itself. We believe that we are strongest when we respect and support each other — a lesson too many in our business still have yet to learn.
We are deeply appreciative of the partnership c3 and MusicAnswers have forged. Together, we represent thousands of writers, producers, performers, and music business professionals, and over the past few weeks we have worked steadfastly to pursue improvements in the MMA. We look forward to future collaboration and welcome the involvement of other collaborative groups and individuals.
The Content Creators Coalition (c3) is an artist-run non-profit advocacy group representing creators in the digital landscape. C3’s work is significant to anyone who creates and makes a living from their creations. c3’s objectives are two-fold: First, economic justice for musicians and music creators in the digital domain. Second, ensuring that the current and future generations of creators retain the rights needed to create and benefit from the use of their work and efforts. C3 has grown into a national organization based on representation, advocacy, and mobilization for sustainable careers in the digital age.
MusicAnswers unites songwriters, composers, performers, and producers in a grassroots campaign to protect, inform, and educate our community about our rights and revenue streams. It is grounded in the firm belief that, regardless of our roles in creating music, our common interests are far greater than those that divide us. Since its launch in January 2016, nearly 3500 music creators and professionals have signed our Declaration of Principles, which is posted at musicanswers.org.