Academy's Neil Portnow Uses Grammy Speech to Lobby on Streaming Payouts
The first effort under the new structure will be the second Grammys in My District in the fall. Friedman says Recording Academy members visited a third of Congress in their local offices in its first year. He believes the new structure will allow Recording Academy members to contact all members of Congress while home for recess.
"This is probably the most important time for music policy in a generation or longer," Friedman tells Billboard, referring to the current effort in Congress to update music licensing and copyright laws. He says the idea to bolster the Academy's advocacy came from president Neil Portnow after he testified before a House subcommittee hearing in June. Portnow wanted to create a stronger voice for the interests of the recording artists, songwriters, producers and other members of the Academy.
If ever there were a time to boost advocacy, it's now. The thorough review has set the stage for updates to the Copyright Act that could alter many of the ways music is licensed and how creators are paid royalties -- and what royalties they receive -- could change. Some changes will help create a more efficient digital music marketplace. Others will determine how music services and creators split pools of money.
Copyright Review Concludes with Final Hearing, Ball Passes to Congress
The two-year review of copyright law concluded Wednesday with testimony by Maria Pallante, Register of Copyright and Director of the United States Copyright, before the House Judiciary Committee. Among the changes favored by the Copyright Office, which advises Congress on these matters, are market-based rate setting standards -- especially prized by publishers -- and a performance right for sound recordings that would pay royalties to record labels.
Copyright can be a challenging topic that laypersons strain to understand. But Friedman says Academy members have been actively following the events in Washington and understand what's at stake. "Everybody wants to know more. Everybody wants to effect change. They just need a mechanism."