Saturday, July 13, 2024

Senate Democrat Ron Wyden Railed Against by Vintage Pop Stars Over Legislation That Could Destroy Their Meager Earnings from Digital, Satellite Broadcast

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Famed R&B star “Soul Man” Sam Moore is the latest member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who is furious with Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. The reason is that Wyden may screw up pending legislation now called The Music Modernization Act (S. 2823), which includes the “Classics Act.”

Currently, music artists who made records before 1972– which is all of classic rock, pop, R&B, country, etc– are not compensated by digital or satellite radio. The Music Modernization Act, endorsed by Barack Obama while he was president, is also supported by two dozen or more US senators and huge numbers in the House of Representatives.

The Classics Act protects not just big stars like the Beatles or Rolling Stones, but huge numbers of R&B stars from labels like Motown, Stax, Atlantic– i.e. all the stuff you love to dance to at parties (Aretha, James Brown, Temptations, Sam & Dave)— who get nada, zip, zero now from millions of plays on various services from Spotify to Sirius, Pandora, AppleMusic, et al.

Wyden has suddenly weighed in with his own legislation that would not only water down the Music Modernization, but take away rights these artists already have! Billboard’s Robert Levine recently observed: “Wyden’s bill also calls for all pre-1972 recordings to lose all of the protection they currently have under state law. Under current law — and the Music Modernization Act wouldn’t change this — all state law protection expires no later than 2067, although in some jurisdictions it could run out sooner. It also says that works recorded between 1923 and 1930 will enter the public domain if they’re not used, and it offers a three-year window from liability for statutory damages in some cases.”

Wyden’s legislation, called ACCESS, must be stopped. Sam Moore posted on Facebook this week:  “Stop Sen Wyden from devaluing and stealing from me and all of my peers who recorded our biggest hits before Feb,1972!  The idea that he thinks that he can minimize or devalue my talent and my peers talent is about as offensive as offensive can get!
Don’t take our legacies away from us! Don’t take our ability to care for our children and our grandchildren and our great grandchildren
You are just plain wrong and you just don’t have that right Senator. It’s embarrassing that a 70-year-old man, a Democrat, no less, would put himself above all of us! (I’m betting his you know what stinks just as bad as mine does how dare he!) “

Moore notes that Wyden’s local NAACP chapter in Oregon is also railing against his proposal as hundreds of the artists are black.
 Yes I’m sick and tired of any senator or congressman who feels that they can play God over us artists because they’re getting there you-know-what’s kissed by special interest and lobbyists and I don’t care which party they are in!
ENOUGH!
Hope you have a Happy Independence Day Senator Wyden! “

MusicFirst, a coalition that represents music artists’ digital rights, also has chimed in:

“Wyden’s bill also calls for all pre-1972 recordings to lose all of the protection they currently have under state law. Under current law — and the Music Modernization Act wouldn’t change this — all state law protection expires no later than 2067, although in some jurisdictions it could run out sooner. It also says that works recorded between 1923 and 1930 will enter the public domain if they’re not used, and it offers a three-year window from liability for statutory damages in some cases.”

Me, personally: I can’t figure out how a Democrat who considers himself a friend of the arts, and a progressive, wants to limit the rights of these amazing artists. Maybe it’s time to take a deeper dive into Wyden’s motivations.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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