| WASHINGTON, June 10
WASHINGTON, June 10 The U.S. Congress is working
to update laws on who gets paid for recorded music, in a
possible omnibus bill, as old CDs pile up at yard sales and
music lovers increasingly shift to streaming services such as
Pandora and Spotify.
One bill, the RESPECT Act, would close a loophole that
allows digital music services, like SiriusXM, to stream music
recorded before 1972 without paying for them. These include
legends such as The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and
other Motown artists.
A second bill, the Songwriter Equity Act, would give
songwriters more leeway to argue for higher royalties when their
songs are played by digital streaming services. Songwriting and
recordings are licensed separately.
Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York,
said on Tuesday he was working on an omnibus bill to address
these and other legal issues as digital streaming has replaced
broadcast radio and albums as the most popular way of listening
"We can create a better system for radio competitors, for
artists and songwriters, and for fans, all of whom depend on a
vital healthy market for music and music services," he said at a
House Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.
Lee Thomas Miller, who wrote "I'm Still a Guy" for country
singer Brad Paisley, said songwriters were being driven from the
business by digital streaming services which paid just a
fraction of a cent to songwriters when their songs were
streamed. That price is set by a "rate court" at the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York.
"An American profession is in a lot of trouble," Miller told
Another push was for a comprehensive registry of music, with
songs given unique identifiers, so that YouTube, a Google Inc
unit, Pandora and others could easily determine who
owns the various rights to any song in order to assure payment.
A second hearing is scheduled for June 25, with witnesses
including officials from Pandora, SiriusXM Radio, the Recording
Industry Association of America and singer-songwriter Rosanne
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Ros Krasny and Richard