The Songwriters Guild Of America has changed it position and will endorse the Music Modernization Act, after changes were made to the bill currently before the US Congress. While some music attorneys and publishers are still urging caution, The SGA had been the only major music trade group opposing the legislation.
The Songwriters Guild of America has negotiated changes to the pending Music Modernization Act (HR 4706) that will enable it to support passage of the legislation. Among the agreed-upon amendments to the bill are:
- the doubling of songwriter and composer representation on the board of directors of the Mechanical Licensing Collective established by the Act
- the re-alignment of an Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee that will now have a 50/50 music creator and music publisher balance
- clarifications to the payments sections that will make it easier for music creators to get the full benefits of their negotiated publishing agreements as applied to the distribution of what the bill refers to as “unclaimed” funds by music publishers.
As part of the discussions leading to changes, The SGA also recieved assurances from the US music publisher community that it will lend its full support to SGA’s efforts to secure quick passage of the pending Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2017 (HR 3945). CASE will provide music creators with an opt-in alternative to expensive, full blown copyright infringement actions against unlicensed users of their music.
Other benefits of the legislation, according to the SGA, include establishment of a system that:
- is likely to substantially improve royalty payment compliance by digital distributors of music on a going-forward basis
- changes in royalty rate determination formulas that will benefit both music creators and their copyright administrators
- the promotion of greater fairness for US performing rights societies in their negotiations with users.
“Among SGA’s important roles following the bill’s enactment,” said SGA president and multi-platinum songwriter Rick Carnes, “will be to assist the songwriter and composer community in making sure that every music creator receives the full benefits intended under the Act. That includes publication of materials designed to inform and remind creators, in consultation with their legal and financial representatives, how best to ensure the maximum, accurate receipt of all royalties to which they are entitled.”
More details here.