ASCAP Reps Talk Music Licensing in the Digital Landscape on Capitol Hill

Left to right: ASCAP president/chairman Paul Williams, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Ne-Yo, Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) and ASCAP executive VP/general counsel Elizabeth Matthews (Photo: Keith Jewell)

ASCAP sent their heavy-hitters to Washington, D.C., for a panel discussion on music licensing in today's digital landscape.

The panel, held in the Rayburn Office Building on Nov. 20, was moderated by ASCAP president/chairman Paul Williams and included ASCAP executive VP/general counsel Elizabeth Matthews and artist/songwriter/producer Ne-Yo. Creative Rights Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) welcomed the panel.

ASCAP’s Williams said in a statement that it’s time to re-examine the regulatory system governing music licensing, and urged other industry stakeholder to join in. "America's ability to continue creating and exporting the world's greatest music depends on all of us working together to modernize the music licensing system in a way that allows songwriters and composers to thrive alongside businesses that revolve around our music," he said.

Responding to questions about specific policy changes ASCAP would like to see, ASCAP’s Matthews said in a statement that the organization is working to "shape the future of the music licensing landscape so that everyone wins -- consumers, content services and the songwriters and composers who are the foundation of the music eco-system.”

She continued, “ASCAP is uniquely positioned as the most efficient and effective collective licensing model, but the historical practices and laws that govern how we do business need to be updated in order to reflect advances in technology, end-user behavior and an evolving competitive landscape."

ASCAP reported that in his welcoming remarks Rep. Chu said, "As we consider new policies in the music and copyright space, it's important for all of us to recognize the unique concerns and challenges facing songwriters, in addition to those who perform their works."

Rep. Coble added that he was looking forward to hear songwriters discuss "their experiences in the music industry and their personal perspectives on these important issues."

At the event, ASCAP played its short film “Why We Create Music,” which features 15 songwriters and composers, including Ne-Yo, and was commissioned for the organization's upcoming 100th birthday. The video will soon be available for viewing at ASCAP100.com.

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