Before You Fire Off That Angry Email: Feinstein Supports the MMA Package!!

Just a quick note here.  Seems like there has been some confusion in the artist community about Sen Feinstein’s position on the MMA, specifically whether she supports the Pre-1972 provisions.  There should be no confusion. The ranking member clearly supports all three elements of the bill.

In her own words:

I’m proud to sponsor [the AMP Act] with Chairman Grassley which would for the first time provide federal copyright protection to the sound engineers and producers for the royalties to which they are entitled.

I know Smokey Robinson is here but we will do a more formal introduction in a few moments.

I want everybody to know that I’m pleased to support legislation to ensure artists are paid for their works that were recorded before 1972. One of the bills before us today would erase an arbitrary distinction under current law that provides the same copyright protections for digital streaming for all artists.

I also strongly support establishing new licenses that will make it easier for digital music companies to broadcast more music to larger audiences. The at the same time it’s important that the pass legislation that we don’t create unintended consequences.

Now the Senator did make some comments about the composition of the governing boards and treatment of unclaimed royalties that could be regarded as critical. But I think some folks have misinterpreted her comments as overall hostility to the act. This is ridiculous.  I suggest you look at the transcripts yourself, or better yet watch the hearings. The body language suggests a love fest.

For the tl/dr crowd here is the key section from Feinstein:

I’ve heard some estimates that the unclaimed royalties could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  This is indeed a very big deal and requires a good long look.  When looking at how to treat such a significant sum we need to ensure that the legislation does enough to find a songwriter that wrote the music… Are these individuals properly protected and are there sufficient incentives in place to find the people that the money belongs to?  And that is the great question I have in mind.

The Senator is echoing the same concerns voiced by dozens of songwriters on the division of unclaimed royalties. The Senator would appear to be an ally of songwriters on this issue. What other way is there to interpret this?  If anything she may be intending to provide more accountability and transparency to the unclaimed royalty process.  If you’re gonna send an email to Sen Feinstein, it should simply say “Thank you.”

About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.