Industry News, Law & Policy

#Grammys2018: Watch Industry Stakeholders Speak at the Congressional Hearing on ‘Music Policy Issues: A Perspective From Those Who Make It’

“On Jan. 26 in New York City, the full House Judiciary Committee conducted a field hearing titled “Music Policy Issues: A Perspective From Those Who Make It.” Held at ranking member Jerry Nadler’s (D-N.Y.) alma mater, Fordham University School of Law, the all-star, all-music panel of witnesses included singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc, platinum-selling producer Mike Clink, country songwriter Tom Douglas, three-time GRAMMY winner Booker T. Jones, Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow, and five-time GRAMMY winner Dionne Warwick.

“A few years ago, at GRAMMYs on the Hill, majority leader [Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)] and Democratic leader [Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)] both cautioned the audience of industry members that ‘unity is what this community needs to pass legislation,'” testified Portnow at the hearing. “Members of the Judiciary Committee: We listened.”

Speaking for music people of every variety, Portnow encouraged the lawmakers not to let outdated regulatory categories slice up the panel into songwriters versus performers versus producers because a better framework is now the music community’s consensus.

On Jan. 8 this “united support” was announced. The key pieces of legislation that it was agreed fit so well together for a better framework include the Music Modernization Act of 2017, CLASSICS Act, the Allocation for Music Producers Act, and establishing a market-based rate standard for satellite radio…” –
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) issued the following statements in advance of the hearing.

Chairman Goodlatte: “As part of our ongoing efforts to update our nation’s copyright laws, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in New York City to specifically look at the state of the music industry and the challenges they face in the digital age.

“From compact discs and vinyl records to music streaming services and internet-based radio, music is more available now than it has ever been. When crafting our current copyright laws governing music licensing, Congress could not have foreseen all of today’s technologies and the myriad of ways consumers engage with creative works. Next week’s field hearing will be an excellent opportunity to hear directly from a wide of range of music professionals on the opportunities and challenges the music industry faces in the digital age.”

Ranking Member Nadler: “There is widespread agreement that the music licensing system is in need of comprehensive reform. This hearing will be an important step in our effort to update the music licensing system and examine the specific problems most in need of a legislative solution. New York City is home to thousands of creators, including songwriters, performers and musicians, as well as some of the nation’s leading technology companies. Given the wealth of talent, experience, and expertise in New York, I am proud to welcome the Committee to my district for this field hearing.”

Mr. Aloe Blacc, Musician, Singer, Songwriter
Mr. Mike Clink, Record Producer
Mr. Booker Jones, Songwriter, Record Producer, Artist, and Arranger
Mr. Tom Douglas, Songwriter
Mr. Neil Portnow, President, The Recording Academy
Ms. Dionne Warwick, Recording Artist

Watch the Hearing session

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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