‘CLASSICS’ Act Seeks Royalties for Pre-1972 Recordings

Congressmen Darrel Issa (R-CA) and Jarrold Nadler (D-NY) have introduced legislation to bring sound recordings made before February 15, 1972 under the federal copyright system that governs post-1972 recordings. The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act (CLASSICS Act) would uniformly treat the digital transmissions of both pre- and post-1972 recordings so that artists and labels receive the same royalties regardless of when the recordings were made.

The bill sponsors say it closes a long-standing gap in federal copyright law and serves as an update to the pre-1972 treatment of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, a broader music licensing bill introduced by Congressman Nadler. The Fair Play Fair Pay Act would not only create a radio performance royalty but would also require stations to pay royalties on songs recorded before 1972. In addition to Issa and Nadler, Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) cosponsored the legislation. All were original cosponsors of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act.

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