WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced the Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act, which would establish an information database for musical works and sound recordings.
Across the country, businesses and establishments play or perform music for the enjoyment of their patrons, but the process of ensuring they are legally able to do so, as well as those who hold the license to the music or recordings being played are fairly compensated, is convoluted and difficult. Because of this onerous process, business owners often struggle to obtain the correct licensing, leaving them vulnerable to lawsuits, as well as increased licensing fees.
To address this problem, the House Judiciary Committee has spent several years examining the Copyright Act and its need for reform. After more than 20 hearings and an extensive open comment period, there is overwhelming support to modernize our copyright laws and make them easier to follow. This includes the adoption of new user-friendly technologies and instituting procedures to ensure transparency in music licensing.
The Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act is a step forward in simplifying the process and helping business owners to identify copyright holders in one easy location to ensure they comply with licensing and payment requirements.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “When it comes to rules and regulations, simpler is always better. Streamlining the music licensing process into one, easily accessible database is a straightforward way to help our nation’s business owners while ensuring copyright owners are fairly compensated for their work.”
Some of the key provisions of the Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act include:
- Require the Register of Copyrights to establish and maintain a current informational database of musical works and sound recordings while granting the Register authority to hire employees and contractors, promulgate regulations, and spend appropriated funds necessary and appropriate to carry out these functions
- Ensure that the database is made publicly accessible by the Copyright Office, in its entirety and without charge, and in a format that reflects current technological practices, and that is updated on a real-time basis
- Limit the remedies available to a copyright owner or authorized party to bring an infringement action for violation of the exclusive right to perform publicly, reproduce or distribute a musical work or sound recording if that owner/ authorized party has failed to provide or maintain the minimum information required in the database