On the surface, at least, the “Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act,” introduced in the House of Representatives on July 20 by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), seems like a copyright bill that could help untangle the online music business. At a time when accurately identifying rightsholders has become an important issue — and an expensive one — the bill would direct the U.S. Copyright Office to create a database to make the process easy. Who could be against transparency? Or an easy way to identify rightsholders? Or, in a business where information is hoarded for strategic advantage, a comprehensive database run by a neutral organization?
Well, the devil is in the details.