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Legislative Update | Nashville | Songwriters

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

What’s going on in the world of songwriter and music artist legislation?


  • Advertisers Pressure Google to Get Right

  • Rep. Goodlatte Introduces Bill To Liberate Copyright Office

Advertisers Pressure Google to Get Right

For a long time music industry people have been screaming that Google and YouTube are unfairly compensating them for their music uploaded without their consent to the multibillion-dollar corporation’s web search and video platforms.

Music professionals assert that Google owned YouTube should be governed like any other music usage company, and have to acquire permission to utilize the synchronization right, mechanical and performance rights, along with any visual copyrights required to provide video content to consumers.

Google historically has hidden behind smiles of privacy and technology patents, preventing them from disclosing the amounts of revenues they are generating, along with the sources of that income.

Now that practice of non-transparency is getting them into trouble with their advertisers, the lifeblood of the megalithic search giant Google, and its subsidiaries including YouTube, gmail, and self driving car enthusiasts Uber.

Some of the advertisers who have joined the chorus led by Procter and Gamble at this year’s advertising convention include, Coca Cola, Pepsi, GM, Walmart, and others.

These household brands are up in arms because Google refuses to allow them to prevent their advertisements from showing up on violent or hate speech videos.

NPR recently aired a piece suggesting that brands should not discriminate where their audience hears their content, implying that brands should not claim to be the moral gatekeepers for their customers. [Source below]

Mic Coalition talks a good game

However, NPR’s brief affiliation with the Google led Mic Coalition suggests that their piece might be still influenced by Silicon Valley investment dollars, causing them to briefly forget about the importance of their own vital government subsidy and listener support, not to mention the leniency musicians have historically allowed the non-profit radio group.

Will Google finally submit to fair business practices in relation to advertising, music usage and the rights of copyright owners and advertisers? We shall see.

Ad revenue relies on Google and YouTube having reliable, legally sourced content sought out by conscientious, paying consumers. Without that basic qualification - a willingness to pay - internet users might as well be a bunch of shoplifting thugs watching pirated movies and music in your hallway.

With ad transparency comes music content transparency, and transparency is always a good thing for the honest and well intentioned. Not so much if you’ve got something to hide.

Further Readings and Source Information:

NPR “Companies are pulling ads from YouTube to protect their brands” by Adrienne Hill March 23, 2017 NPR

Trichordist: Walmart, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Procter and Gamble and GM Are All Now Boycotting Google Over Extremist Videos

Bob Goodlatte's Website Image

Representative Goodlatte Introduces Bill To Liberate Copyright Office

For the past several years, there have been ongoing discussions and investigations into the volatile, broken music licensing system in the United States.

The Internet basically broke the old system and exposed all its imperfections, many of which are still being worked out as we speak.

But in one carefully written and bi-partisan supported document, Representative Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has issued a bill helping to reform this brokenness.

Last year you may recall, President Obama’s newly appointed Librarian of Congress decided to demote the songwriter’s champion Maria Pallante, Registrar of Copyright, to a menial position where she would be overseeing, among other things, merchandise sales in the gift shop.

The move was widely cheered by Big Tech supporters and their cronies as a sign of a further weakening of songwriter’s negotiating powers.

Now, Rep. Goodlatte and team are recommending that the Registrar of Copyright be appointed by the President as a separate position of importance, in other words, out from under Madam Librarian and her agenda.

Songwriters need to get behind this one. Contact your Congressperson and let them know that the creative labor industry needs their support of this bill to help things get back on track. Vote Yes on H.R. 1695 and Thank Congress for supporting these efforts on our behalf.

Additional Reading and Sources:

Full text of H.R. 1695 – Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017 Introduced 3/23/2017 by Mr. Goodlatte (for himself, Mr. Conyers, Ms. Bass, Mr. Biggs, Mrs. Blackburn, Mr. Buck, Mr. Chabot, Ms. Judy Chu of California, Mr. Cicilline, Mr. Collins of Georgia, Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Deutch, Mr. Farenthold, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Gohmert, Mr. Gowdy, Ms. Jackson Lee, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Mr. Johnson of Louisiana, Mr. Jordan, Mr. King of Iowa, Mr. Labrador, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Mr. Marino, Mr. Nadler, Mr. Poe of Texas, Mr. Ratcliffe, Mrs. Roby, Mr. Sensenbrenner, and Mr. Smith of Texas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary)

Maria Pallante’s Departure from the Copyright Office: What It Means, And Why It Matters by Robert Levine 10/25/2016 Billboard online

“House Introduces Bill Moving Toward USCO Modernization” Illusion of More by David Newhoff posted on March 24, 2017

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