A raft of artists across the musical spectrum including the Beatles, members of the Beach Boys and the estates of Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding are rallying behind a new campaign called Project 72, which aims to require digital radio services to pay equally for all recordings they stream.
Currently, Sirius XM and Pandora do not pay royalties for recordings made before 1972 because those recordings fall outside protections of the Copyright Act of 1972, the first federal law specifically addressing sound recordings. Prior to that year, such recordings were copyrighted at the state and local level.
While that remains an issue that is being explored on various fronts, the Project 72 campaign and a companion bill in the House of Representatives are being introduced to give the effort additional legal muscle. The two efforts constitute “a fairly simple fix,” said Michael Huppe, president and chief executive of the Washington-based SoundExchange.
That’s the nonprofit performing rights organization empowered by the Copyright Royalty Board to collect statutory royalties and distribute them to artists and record companies for recordings used on satellite and Internet radio, cable TV and streaming music services.
The bill would amend the statutory license to require those services to pay the same for pre-1972 recordings as they do for those made more recently in terms of royalty payments.