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Musically Inclined: The Music Modernization Act of 2018

When Congress permitted sound recordings to be copyrighted over four decades ago, it didn’t extend that coverage to pre-1972 recordings. This issue, and the piecemeal nature of licensing for digital music on a per-work, per song basis, were part of the impetus for the stakeholders in the music industry to work together to create the Music Modernization Act, signed into law on October 11, 2018… Not all issues in the music industry were solved by the Music Modernization Act: licensing of physical sound recordings (vinyl and CDs) will still occur on a per-work, per song basis. Terrestrial radio pays songwriters and publishers royalties for playing music, but it doesn’t pay performance or sound-recording royalties. And while the goal of one public database is laudable, the responsibility still lies with songwriters and publishers to submit copyright applications and to submit all of their musical works and sound recordings to the MLC… While there is still work to be done, the Music Modernization Act does solve some long-standing issues in the music industry.
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