On Thursday, October 11, 2018, US President Donald Trump signed the Music Modernization Act (MMA) in a grand ceremony, making it a law. The Act which is officially titled ‘Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act’ was in the pipeline for years. Its main aim is to reform the copyright law in the US to make it more artist-friendly, more so in the digital streaming aspect. The Act has three-fold objectives: establishing an organisation of artists, setting up a uniform payment process and abolishing the post-1972 cap to be eligible for royalties.
While calling the music industry “a dirty business” President Trump stated that the MMA is a milestone that would “close loopholes” in copyright law and help music creators get paid.
- MMA has been passed after artists voiced their discontent at the inadequate royalties provided to them because of the lacuna in the Copyright Act and related laws which required streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, etc. to pay only 10% of their revenue from streaming to the artists. MMA will ensure that there is proper licensing and adequate royalty mechanism.
- MMA aims to create a single organisation of artists so that there is uniformity in licensing as well as the distribution of payment to artists which was earlier done through various non-standardised music societies in the US.
- The pre-1972 rule was harming a lot of older artists as new artists did not require licenses for the songs created by the former before the said year. Now, the licenses and royalties will be a mandate for all songs within copyright protection pre or post-1972.
All in all, Music Modernization Act is a great step towards modernisation of copyright law in general and musical work in particular which will hopefully be adopted in India as well.