Press Releases

Press Releases

Reps. Issa, Nadler Introduce Much-Needed Fix For 'Oldies' Copyright Battle

Press Release
Jul 19, 2017

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee for Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (respectively), today introduced bipartisan legislation to close a long-standing gap in federal copyright law.
 
H.R. 3301, the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act (the CLASSICS Act) resolves uncertainty over the copyright protections afforded to sound recordings made before 1972 by bringing these recordings into the federal copyright system and ensuring that digital transmissions of both pre and post-1972 recordings are treated uniformly.

The CLASSICS Act serves as an update to the "pre-72 treatment" of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act – a broader music licensing bill introduced by Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Nadler earlier this Congress – and represents a broad consensus from a variety of stakeholders across the music landscape. 

Congressman Darrell Issa: “This an important and overdue fix to the law that will help settle years of litigation and restore some equity to this inexplicable gap in our copyright system. It makes no sense that some of the most iconic artists of our time are left without the same federal copyright protections afforded to their modern counterparts. This bill is the product of a great deal of work to build consensus across party lines and varying interests all-over the music and entertainment landscapes on how to best resolve this long-standing problem. I'm very proud of the work we've done here. It will go a long way helping bring music licensing laws into the twenty-first century.”
 
Congressman Jerrold Nadler: “For years, we have been working to ensure royalty payments for artists who recorded many of our great musical classics before 1972. The Fair Play Fair Pay Act set down a clear marker on the need to resolve the dispute over pre-72 music, as we worked toward a long-term solution that benefits multiple stakeholders. The bill we are introducing today updates this Pre-72 provision, once and for all guaranteeing royalty payments for our great legacy artists while providing certainty for digital music services. Hopefully, this new measure will serve as an example of the consensus that can be reached between the creators and distributors of music as we work to comprehensively update our music licensing laws. Many of these older musicians are past their working years and have no other way to make ends meet. I’m thankful to the supporters of this bill for recognizing that pre-72 recordings have value and that those who create it should be paid regardless of their age.”  

The bill is introduced with the support of stakeholders across the music and entertainment industry including American Association of Independent Music, the Recording Industry Association of America, Pandora, musicFIRST, the Internet Association, the GRAMMYs, SoundExchange, Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Federation of Musicians, the Content Creators Coalition, the Future of Music Coalition, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, and the Living Legends Foundation.

In addition to Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Nadler, Representatives John Conyers (D-MI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tom Rooney (R-FL), and Ted Deutch (D-FL) joined as original co-sponsors of the legislation.

Text of the Legislation is Available Here

One-Pager On The Bill Is Available Here

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:


Congress made sound recordings eligible for federal copyright protection with the Sound Recording Amendment of 1971, but the law as passed only applied to works created on or after February 15, 1972. Sound recordings made before 1972 were excluded from federal copyright protection

This gap has meant that different recordings made before 1972 have been subject to an inconsistent patchwork of different laws, creating significant uncertainty for rights holders music creators, and distributors, including digital streaming services, who wish to be able to fairly compensate artists and utilize these recordings.

The differing treatment of pre and post 1972 was an inexplicable and arbitrary oversight on the part of Congress. The U.S. Copyright Office has expressed their bewilderment with the decision, writing in their recent report on federal copyright protections for pre-1972 sound recordings that “Congress did not articulate grounds for leaving pre-1972 sound recordings outside the federal scheme and there is very little information as to why it did so.”

This gap has meant that updates to copyright law and new protections extended to sound recordings under the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act have excluded pre-1972 recordings. The most significant of these being the ‘safe harbor’ provisions for online piracy and ‘compulsory licenses’ made available for internet and satellite radio streaming.
 
Additional resources: In-depth overviews of this problem are available at Plagiarism Today, the Hollywood Reporter, and the US Copyright Office.

Press Release Aug 17, 2017
Rep. Issa and Sen. Lee: Job Licensing Is Too Often Bad for Jobs TIME Magazine August 17, 2017 By: Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Mike Lee
Press Release Aug 17, 2017
In the wake of the events in Charlottesville this weekend, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) today released a letter calling for the House Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing at the full committee... Read More
Press Release Aug 15, 2017
Following President Trump's remarks at Trump Tower in regards to the white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, Congressman Issa responded on Twitter with the following statements:  
Press Release Aug 15, 2017
As consensus continues to build on all sides of the aisle to roll back many of our nation's capricious and often unaccountable licensing requirements for Americans to work in particular fields,... Read More
In The News Aug 14, 2017
NOTE: Less than a week later, a gaggle of conservative lawmakers—Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ben Sasse, along with Representative Darrell Issa—introduced legislation that would give licensing... Read More