Today, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. George Holding (R-NC) introduced the Respecting Senior Performers as Essential Cultural Treasures Act (Respect Act). The Respect Act would require webcasters to pay statutory license fees for pre-1972 sound recordings as a condition of using the statutory license for sound recordings made in 1972 and later, which receive federal copyright protection. The bill would not preempt the patchwork of existing state law protections.
The following can be attributed to Jodie Griffin, Senior Staff Attorney:
“Public Knowledge supports protecting pre-1972 sound recordings under federal copyright law, but this bill fails to give pre-1972 recordings actual copyright protection and fails to solve the uncertainty created by a patchwork of state laws. Pre-1972 sound recordings should be addressed in a comprehensive approach that considers the many current issues in music licensing.
“Pre-1972 sound recordings should be given actual copyright protection that lasts for the lifetime of the author. That protections should be balanced by limitations like robust statutory licensing, mechanisms to help users locate authors, and reasonable damages. Additionally, users that are currently relying on limitations in state laws today should be given notice and time to adjust to the new regime. Finally, the windfall that results from new licensing requirements should go the actual artist, so the statutory splits that often currently give half of the collected royalty payments to record labels should be adjusted to increase artists' share of the royalties.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.