Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressman Cohen Applauds Passage of Music Modernization Act

September 26, 2018
Press Release
Bill clarifies rights to compensation for legacy musicians

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) applauded House passage of the Music Modernization Act, a bill that updates provisions of federal copyright law to account for the transformation of the music industry by the internet, music streaming and smart phones. It also expands federal copyright protection to pre-1972 sound recordings to ensure that legacy artists are appropriately compensated for the use of their work.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“The Music Modernization Act is the first update to our music licensing laws in 20 years and brings us up to date with the current technologies. The bill contains elements of the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act, which I cosponsored, that will resolve uncertainties over copyright protections for certain pre-1972 sound recordings and clarify digital royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings. This bill is good for music, and good for Memphis musicians and music fans.”

Congressman Cohen was a cosponsor of the House version of the Music Modernization Act, and voted for it when it came before the House Judiciary Committee as well as when it initially passed the House in April. 

Last night’s House passage by unanimous consent follows last week’s Senate passage by unanimous consent. The bill will now move to the President’s desk for signing into law.

At a House Judiciary Committee field hearing on the measure in January, lawmakers heard from witness and Memphis music impresario Booker T. Jones, who noted that his 1962 classic “Green Onions” is still treated as “pre-’72.”