April 12, 2018
BETHESDA, MD – The passage of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) (H.R. 5447) by the House Judiciary Committee on April 11 sets a meaningful bipartisan precedent and is a step in the right direction when it comes to addressing flaws in the music licensing system.
However, hundreds of thousands of bar, tavern and restaurant owners are correct to point out that the MMA does not address their fundamental need for transparent and reliable information in the music licensing process.
These small business owners – many of whom are the conduits through which consumers learn about and enjoy the work of songwriters – continue to operate under threat of bankruptcy-triggering lawsuits for so much as one misplay of an unlicensed song.
The Committee’s support for the creation of a comprehensive mechanical licensing database in the Music Modernization Act should translate into support for a corresponding comprehensive performance rights licensing database as envisioned in H.R. 3350, the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act, a bipartisan bill introduced last year by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.
Beverage licensees stand ready to work with the Committee to build on current momentum to bring greater transparency and fairness to the music licensing process, and remedy opaque and untenable licensing situations for music venues.