Three Senior Republican Senators Introduce Legislation to "Allow Songwriters to Receive Fair Pay"

Monday, May 12, 2014

Three senior Republican U.S. senators announced today at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville that they are introducing legislation that would allow songwriters to receive compensation based on the fair market value of their songs.

The Songwriter Equity Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) – a songwriter himself and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee that would consider the legislation. The legislation would amend federal law to allow songwriters to be compensated for the fair market value of their work.

The senators made their announcement accompanied by songwriters Roxie Dean, Lee Thomas Miller, Tom Douglas and Rivers Rutherford, who performed some of their signature songs and discussed the importance of removing government restrictions.

Senator Alexander said: “Italy has its art, Egypt has its pyramids, Napa Valley has its wines and Nashville has its songwriters. Songwriters are the lifeblood of Music City, and their paychecks ought to be based on the fair market value of their songs – so that when they write a hit heard around the world, you can see it in their billfolds.”

Senator Corker said: “There’s no place where the music industry is more vibrant than in Tennessee, where we are blessed with talented songwriters, musicians, and small and large businesses that work to bring to life the music we enjoy each day. As technology advances, it’s important we not forget the sometimes unsung heroes of the music industry – the songwriters – and modernize the way they are compensated for their talents.”

Senator Hatch said: “The music business is one of the toughest industries out there and our songwriters and composers shouldn’t have to accept artificially low royalty rates for their works. Allowing them to receive the fair market value for their songs is the right thing to do, and I’m pleased to support this bill that will do just that."

The legislation would allow songwriters to receive market-based compensation and remove government price controls in two ways:

First, it would direct the Copyright Royalty Board to set compensation according to the fair market value when songs are sold, such as through music downloads and CD purchases, replacing the current below-market standard.

Second, it would remove a provision of law that narrows the scope of evidence the federal rate court may examine when asked to set songwriter compensation for when their song is played, such as in a restaurant or at a concert.

Songwriter compensation is dictated by the federal government. The rate of compensation that is set by the Copyright Royalty Board has increased only 7 cents over 100 years, and is currently 9.1 cents per song. The so-called “federal rate court” determines compensation rates for public performances, occasionally requiring songwriters to engage in complex litigation to be paid reasonable fees for their work.

The legislation the senators introduced is the Senate companion to H.R. 4079, legislation introduced on Feb. 25 by U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) with 14 cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.).

Senator Alexander currently serves as the Ranking Member, or lead Republican, of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Senator Corker serves at the Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Hatch is the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, in addition to being a senior member of the Judiciary Committee.

 


Reward Offered For Information On Car Burglaries And Vandalism In Cleveland

A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of suspect(s) involved in car burglaries and/or vandalism in Cleveland occurring this past weekend in and around the Greenway and its parking areas, Stuart School and Perry’s Petals. Authorities are processing forensic evidence. The public is urged to contact Detective Matt Jenkins, Criminal Investigations ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Home Destroyed By Fire Early Monday Morning

A home in the Ooltewah area was destroyed by fire early Monday morning. At 3:18 a.m.., a 911 call was made reporting a house fire at 9215 Quail Mountain Drive. The Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department responded and arrived within minutes reporting fire showing through the roof and ¾ of the house fully involved.Firefighters quickly went into a “defensive attack” to control ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Our’ American Minute

William J. Federer is one of the leading historians in the United States and every morning I am among thousands of people who get an entertaining email from him called the “American Minute.” I adore it because Bill takes a significant event in American history that happened long ago – but he remembers on the very anniversary of when it occurred. A great example is that last Thursday ... (click for more)

Prep Football Practice Starts Today

Coaches barking instructions, players blocking and tackling, quarterbacks and receivers working on timing routes and error-free handoffs to fleet-footed running backs.   In the greater Chattanooga area and throughout the state it can mean just one thing. It’s time for Prep Football 2014.   Today is the first official day ... (click for more)

NPSL National Championship To Be Played At Red Bulls Arena

The NPSL announced on Monday that the national championship match between Chattanooga FC and the Red Bulls U23 will be played on Saturday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.  The match will be played following an MLS match between New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution.   Local fans took to social media to appeal for the game to be played in Chattanooga. ... (click for more)