As an expected package of music copyright legislation continues to take shape in the United States House of Representatives, a Senate version of the Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act was introduced yesterday afternoon (Mar. 22) by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.), Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif).
The AMP Act, which was re-introduced in the House in February by Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), creates a way for producers and engineers to receive direct payments from SoundExchange when recordings are used on satellite radio and online radio services like Pandora. Remarkably, it will be the first time producers and engineers are mentioned in U.S. copyright law.
The AMP Act is relatively uncontroversial because it does not create a new right; producers and engineers will continue to collect the royalties they were previously due. But it will establish a legal procedure for them to collect those royalties directly from SoundExchange, rather than from the artist in question. SoundExchange already allows artists to pay producers and engineers their share of royalties directly, by accepting “Letters of Direction,” but the AMP Act would formalize this process. It would establish a procedure for producers and engineers who worked on recordings made before 1995 to apply to be paid royalties directly.