The Latest On The Campaign To Recognize Legacy Artists and Fix An Historic Injustice
As both the House and Senate versions of the CLASSICS Act gain more cosponsors (more on that below), momentum continues to grow for this important legislation that fixes an historic injustice by requiring digital radio services like SiriusXM to pay legacy artists for their pre-1972 recordings as a matter of federal law. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte recently announced his committee will be marking up music licensing reform legislation the week of April 9th, with CLASSICS expected to be part of that package. We look back at some of the key moments of the campaign throughout the last few weeks…
MusicFIRST Highlights CLASSICS Momentum With New Co-Sponsors
The musicFIRST coalition highlighted the growing number of co-sponsors of the CLASSICS Act in the House of Representatives, now pegged at 44, while the bill enjoys support by a majority of House Judiciary Committee members: of the Committee’s 40 members, 28 (and counting) are official co-sponsors.
NAACP Calls for Passage of the CLASSICS Act
The NAACP, our nation’s oldest, largest and most widely-recognized grassroots-based civil rights group wrote to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees expressing “strong support” for the CLASSICS Act and called on Congress to pass the legislation “quickly.” Calling the non-payment of royalties to legacy artists “unjust and unfair” and noting that many affected artists can no longer avail themselves of other sources of revenue for example, by touring, NAACP emphatically states that “[l]egacy artists cannot wait for state by state lawsuits to right this wrong or to receive the money they’ve earned.”
NMPA’s David Israelite and RIAA’s Mitch Glazier Pen Joint Oped Calling On Congress To Move Music Licensing Reform Package
RIAA President Mitch Glazier and NMPA President/CEO David Israelite recently penned a joint op-ed published in Variety on the need for Congress to combine the three pieces of music licensing legislation — the Music Modernization Act, the CLASSICS Act, and the AMP Act — into one package, stating:
“So today, with one unified voice, we call on Congress to bring these bills together
in a single piece of legislation and cross the finish line by making them law. We hope that they hear
the pleas of those so often less visible — the songwriters, the legacy artists, the engineers and the producers –
who are behind the music we love and must not be left behind.”
Billboard Lambasts SiriusXM CEO’s “Fair Is Fair”
Argument In Blistering Response
Billboard columnist Rob Levine took to task SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer’s arguments in a recent oped where Meyer claimed the CLASSICS Act was unfair since it allows terrestrial radio to get off scot-free. In his rebuttal column, Levine stated
“SiriusXM isn’t that interested in making traditional radio pay to use sound recordings — if it were, it would lobby for it. The company simply thinks it looks better to make its support for the CLASSICS Act contingent on a change that will never happen, instead of opposing a bill to pay legacy artists…But now that SiriusXM is established, in a market where there’s no competition, why should the company have an advantage over Pandora and other online radio services? Fair is fair.”
Read it here.
RIAA Celebrates Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry Inductees With A Plea For The CLASSICS Act
The Library of Congress recently announced the 2018 inductees into its National Recording Registry for historic preservation, a list that includes several pre-’72 songs and albums by legacy artists such as The Temptations, Bill Haley & His Comets, Merle Travis, Clara Ward and the Ward Singers, Tony Bennett and more. RIAA used the opportunity to celebrate these recordings by making a plea for Congress to pass the CLASSICS Act. See below for an example.
Valentine’s Day Celebration of CLASSICS (Video)
Last month Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love literally brought down the House and Mary Wilson of The Supremes made a passionate plea for Congress to pass the CLASSICS Act in a packed Valentine’s Day event featuring several Members of Congress. Check out the must-watch video.
IN THE NEWS
And Don’t Forget: Hundreds of Artists (+ Counting…) Say Congress Should Pass CLASSICS Act
In February an unprecedented coalition of 213 musical artists, supported by eight leading music organizations, called upon the U.S. Congress to pass the CLASSICS Act, bipartisan legislation pending in both the House and Senate to address one of copyright law’s most glaring loopholes.
In a two-page advertisement that appeared in Politico, the artists stated:
“Digital radio makes billions of dollars a year from airplay of
music made before Feb. 15, 1972. Yet, because of an ambiguity in
state and federal copyright laws, artists and copyright owners
who created that music receive nothing for the use of their work.
The CLASSICS Act (H.R. 3301 / S. 2393) would correct this inequity
and finally ensure that musicians and vocalists who made those
timeless songs finally get their due. We urge Congress to
pass the CLASSICS Act and other pro-artist reforms quickly.”
The advertisement marked the start of a robust advocacy campaign by artists and music community leaders A2IM, American Federation of Musicians, Content Creators Coalition, musicFIRST Coalition, Recording Academy, Recording Industry Association of America, SAG-AFTRA and SoundExchange.
The ad can be downloaded here.