200-plus artists join chorus for CLASSICS Act

Wisconsin Gazette
200-plus artists join chorus for CLASSICS Act
By Lisa Neff, Staff writer Mar 10, 2018

Musicians are calling on Congress to pass the CLASSICS Act to remedy a digital royalties problem.

More than 200 musical artists make up the chorus calling on Congress to close a loophole allowing digital radio to play pre–1972 recordings without paying royalties.

The list of musicians in the coalition begins with Abdul “Duke” Fakir and ends with Yes.

Just a sampling of other signers: Alice Cooper, Arlo Guthrie, Bette Midler, Tina Turner, Garth Brooks, Blue Oyster Cult, Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Carlene Carter, Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, James Taylor and the estates of Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams, George Harrison, Janis Joplin and Frank Sinatra.

The lyrics they delivered to Congress go like this:

“Digital radio makes billions of dollars a year from airplay of music made before Feb. 15, 1972. Yet, because of an ambiguity in state and federal copyright laws, artists and copyright owners who created that music receive nothing for the use of their work. The CLASSICS Act (H.R. 3301, S. 2393) would correct this inequity and finally ensure that musicians and vocalists who made those timeless songs finally get their due.”

If the bill passes, digital services would be required to pay both rights holders and artists for the use of recordings made before 1972.

The House is expected to take up music licensing legislation this spring, including the CLASSICS Act — also known as the not-so-catchy Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act.

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