Open Letter to Congress – On the Attempt to Create a Government Music Royalty Non-Profits

Seton Motley | Less Government |
Seton Motley | Less Government |
Let the Private Sector Do the Divvying

To the Members of Congress – House and Senate,

Bizarrely, the federal government has set music royalty payment rates for decades.  What songwriters get paid – is determined by…you guys and gals.  Rather than by private negotiations between the private parties involved.  There exists the government middle man.

You are currently considering the Music Modernization Act (MMA).  Having unanimously passed the House of Representatives – it now sits in the Senate.

While it does some good in lessening government’s role in the royalty process – there is one massive government expansion.  Which the Senate should strip from the bill – and the House should sign on to said stripping in legislative reconciliation.

That government expansion – is in the area of how music data is collected and curated:

“Currently, multiple private companies collect the how-much-each-song-was-played data that determines the royalties paid to the artists:

“‘Right now, two companies serve this function for several major digital music services: HFA and MRI. (Apple Music, in a ‘belt and suspenders’ approach, uses both of them.) Google acquired another company, RightsFlow, to act as its own mechanical licensing agency for YouTube and Google Play Music. Newer companies like Audiam and Loudr are in the same business; and various startups are offering partial solutions to the mechanical licensing problem based on blockchain technology.’

“This bill – kills this sector of the marketplace. Subjecting everyone to a government-created non-profit entity that does the work the multi-member private sector had done:

“‘The licensing collective will be an independent not-for-profit organization selected by the U.S. Copyright Office….(M)any companies take on this crucial and monumental task as a for-profit business opportunity; there’s competition and innovation in the market. The MMA could put these companies out of business.’

“It almost certainly would. Just as we have seen with private health insurance, Obamacare – and Obamacare’s non-profit co-ops.”

Creating a government entity to compete with the private entities – is absurd and obnoxious.

This is expanding government’s role – not lessening it.

Wherever anyone is on the MMA en toto – anyone who desires to see less government out of Washington, D.C. should oppose the creation of yet another government entity.

To do something – the private sector should be doing.  And in fact – already is.

We stand in strong opposition to the creation of this music royalties non-profit.

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