A few months back, I blogged about the Music Modernization Act. Just to sum it up briefly, the Music Modernization Act is an attempt at reconciling former copyright laws as they relate to music licensing and technology. The main purposes of the Act are to:
As of late, SESAC and Harry Fox Agency (HFA) owner – a private equity firm – Blackstone, almost prevented the legislation from moving forward because it wanted to make some amendments to the act, which would make the allies who were backing the MMA separate, thereby making the entire project fall apart. HFA is an organization that collects mechanical royalties on behalf of its songwriters and administers mechanical rights. As the authority in the US music industry for mechanical rights administration, HFA felt that the creation of the MLC would negatively impact its business. After much negotiation and compromising on both parts, SESAC, HFA and NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International), Songwriters of North America (SONA), the National Music Publishers Association, and Association of Independent Music Publishers are all on board and are backing the draft of the MMA as amended. The parties were able to compromise by modifying the MLC’s administration of the voluntary licenses outside the scope of the compulsory licenses, which will ensure that private companies, such as HFA won’t be eliminated from the marketplace, all while maintaining a healthy competition that benefits the songwriters and producers.
So far, I’m kind of digging this Act. I wish there were more noise from the actual songwriters and creators as opposed to these organizations that supposedly represent them, because as you can see from this HFA fiasco, their interests are not exactly one in the same. I’m excited to be in the thick of substantive changes in the copyright law and even more excited and anxious to see if and how these changes will benefit my clients.
Lerae Funderburg, Esq. is the Managing Attorney at Funderburg Law, LLC, an Atlanta based entertainment law firm. Lerae has almost 10 years of experience in entertainment law in both music law and film law. As an entertainment lawyer and blogger, Lerae keeps her viewers and subscribers up to date with entertainment law news, especially in the areas of music, copyright law and trademark law. If you are local to Atlanta, call and set up a consultation! She would love to hear from you!