Music Modernization Act

On January 24th a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced the Music Modernization Act, which addresses a longstanding claim by songwriters that they have been shortchanged by the application of the existing mechanical licensing scheme for musical works in the era of digital distribution. In what some see as a last-ditch effort to wring the greatest possible payout from deep-pocketed new music distributors, Wixen Music Publishing recently sued Spotify for $1.6 billion based on alleged infringements that occurred prior to the date on which the Music Modernization Act will likely take effect. (Wixen’s purpose and utility is elusive: it doesn’t “publish” music; it appears to be simply a paralegal “administrator” of songwriters’ copyrights.) Lawyer/musician Niall Fordyce, a contributor to this site, provides another take on this lawsuit in this piece he wrote in connection with a Bloomberg Law article on the pending legislation.