The Orrin G. Hatch – Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act was enacted by Congress and signed into law on October 11, 2018.
This welcome and significant law was unanimously enacted by Congress after years of effort by many to update music licensing to better facilitate legal licensing of music by digital services. The copyright laws had not kept up with changing consumer preferences and technological developments in music. This new law will benefit songwriters, publishers, artists, record labels, digital services, libraries and the general public.
There are three key components to the law: Title I – Music Licensing Modernization; Title II-Classics Protection and Access; and Title III – Allocation for Music Producers. Title I addresses mechanical licensing for reproduction and distribution of music of phonorecords to provide a blanket license for digital music for digital music providers rather than on a per-work, individual song license, basis for licensing of physical configurations, i.e., CD’s, vinyl. Title II extends remedies for copyright infringement to owners of sound recordings fixed prior to February 15, 1972. Title III allows music producers to receive compensation from royalties under statutory licensing by providing a codified and simpler process of distribution.