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.

 


Early Morning Automobile Burglary Leads To 1 Person Being Arrested For Attempted 1st-Degree Murder

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded at approximately, 5:45 a.m. on Thursday, to the 2400 block of Maplewood Drive for the report of shots fired.   Upon arrival, deputies found the property owner, Robert Brown, stating that he had spotted a white woman in dark clothing in his car on the driveway. According to Mr. Brown’s statement, he left his home and ... (click for more)

Jeremi Derek Cagle, 34, Identified As Victim In Signal Mountain Fall On Wednesday

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim involved in Wednesday’s high fall that occurred at 6202 Forest Park Drive on Signal Mountain.   The fall victim has been identified as Jeremi Derek Cagle, 34. Mr. Cagle was from Chickamauga.   The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the incident and has provided investigative findings ... (click for more)

Beyond Freedom Of Speech - And Response

Yes, most people know about the First Amendment to our Constitution, "The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction."  I being a "deplorable" draw the line when people block traffic, try to disrupt, and even stop an activity through malice and disregard for others. Case being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Is Central’s Auditorium?

I am surely one of the biggest proponents of high school athletics there is, especially after half a decade of being an eye witness to the vast array of lessons that are learned every day by anyone associated with sports. That said, I have watched the Hamilton County Commission waffle on a $500,000 track at Central High School with a certain curiosity because the same high school ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Adding Women's Volleyball, Cross Country, Restarting Golf

Cleveland State Community College announced Thursday that it will be adding women's volleyball, cross country and golf. Women's volleyball and cross country are brand new programs for Cleveland State, while the golf program will be restarting. These programs will begin in the 2017-18 school year. "This is part of our 'Cleveland State Community First Plan,' which is a strategic ... (click for more)

No. 3 Cleveland Sneaks Past Walker Valley 59-51

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – State-ranked Cleveland blew most of a 13-point second-half lead, but got clutch field goals from Deontae Davis and KK Curry down the stretch and managed to stay unbeaten in District 5-3A high school basketball action with a hard-fought 59-51 victory over rival Walker Valley on Tuesday night. Walker Valley’s girls defeated the Lady Blue Raiders 43-39 in overtime. ... (click for more)