The United States Department of Justice has filed court papers acknowledging that Eminem publisher Eight Mile Style is challenging the constitutionality of the Music Modernization Act in a big copyright lawsuit against Spotify. However, citing the early posture of the case, the Trump Administration told a Tennessee federal court Wednesday night that it won't yet intervene to directly defend the music licensing law.
Enacted at the beginning of 2018, the Music Modernization Act is one of the few legislative accomplishments during the Donald Trump years as well as a breakthrough compromise between the music and tech communities.
Streamers like Spotify have long complained that it is hard to take advantage of compulsory licenses for the mechanical reproduction of song compositions when the many co-authors and co-owners of such tunes can be tough to identify. Meanwhile, songwriters and publishers have long felt they aren't getting their proper due as digital distribution becomes more of norm. The new law was meant to alleviate the difficulty of "matching" songs with their owners through a database run by a Mechanical Licensing Collective, which will grant blanket licenses beginning in 2021. The statute also provided a bit of a liability shield for digital music providers not sued by composition owners by Dec. 31, 2017.