Monthly Archives: May 2014

Understanding The Songwriter Equity Act of 2014

(As originally published April 14, 2014 in

You may have heard about H.R. 4079, introduced on Feb. 25, 2014, which proposes to amend the current U.S. Copyright Law. “The Songwriter Equity Act of 2014” by its very title insinuates it helps songwriters. Public support from entities such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NARAS, NSAI and NMPA, strengthens that position. But how exactly does the new bill propose to help, and what, in all likelihood, will happen next?

First, let’s look at how this came about. Congressman Doug Collins, a freshman republican from Georgia, introduced the bill. I met Mr. Collins and talked with his staff in his D.C. office the day after it was introduced. According to Collins, “My constituents expect me to find the ways government is in the way of people producing what they can and take down those barriers. The SEA was an interesting, somewhat unexpected way to do that. Here’s a case in which government weighed in back when player pianos were a main way music was distributed and they haven’t changed with the times. Songwriters have paid the price for that.”

So what barriers do Collins and company hope to take down in order to “ensure fairness in the establishment of certain rates and fees?”

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