[Editor Charlie sez: Here’s how it works–DiMA cons the entire music industry into supporting the omnibus “Music Modernization Act” in the House and then stabs the artists and producers in the back in the Senate, passes their new safe harbor and blanket compulsory license, strips out the producers and pre-72 artist bills and laughs their asses off. Why? Because they conned everyone into voting for their new safe harbor on the assumption that there was something in it for everyone. (Remember “get on the bus”?)
Think it can’t happen? Think they won’t do it? Think again.
Remember that the omnibus version of the MMA passed unanimously out of committee and then on the floor of the House 415-0. Which was weird. Why didn’t the usual suspects vote against it?
A civics refresher–in order to become law both the House and the Senate have to vote on the identical bill (either directly or in conference at the end of the session) which is sent to the President to either veto or sign. Procedurally, a lot of Senate business gets done by unanimous consent. So you would have expected to see the same bill get introduced in the Senate as was voted on in the House, right? Assuming that the object was to actually pass the same bill.
However, the component parts of the version of the MMA passed by the House were introduced as separate bills in the Senate (AMP (payments to producers), CLASSICS (pre-72 fix) and the Music Modernization Act (mechanical royalty collective and compulsory license). Separate bills require separate “votes” or must pass or fail by unanimous consent.
This means that unless the Senate “gets on the bus,” the three separate bills will be voted on separately. That also means that one but not all could pass, two but not all could pass, or all three could pass. It also means that since the “popular” House version of the just the safe harbor/compulsory license parts of the MMA could get introduced in the Senate as a replacement for the current Senate version. (Of course it was only “popular” because it included AMP and CLASSICS.)
David Lowery has put is finger on a serioius problem–if the Senate does not pass AMP and CLASSICS but does pass MMA in the form that passed the House, that means that when the bills go to the conference committee at the end of the session–after the November elections–the conference committee could take the new copy of the House version of just the safe harbor and compulsory license and strip out AMP and CLASSICS.
Shills for the Digital Media Association, the Internet Association and Google are currently arguing for exactly this result as David notes. And don’t forget that the current head of the Digital Media Association spent a chunk of his former career at Pandora and SiriusXM stiffing pre-72 artists and fighting the Turtles class action before he joined DiMA. It would be a surprise if he had any intention of righting that wrong.]
Artists give Digital Media Association (DiMA) ride from House to Senate (illustration Mīrzā Raḥīm 1847 public domain). Wikipedia summarizes the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog as follows: A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, […]