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Trump signs bill to reform music licensing for digital age

President Donald Trump signed H.R. 1551, the Music Modernization Act, into law Oct. 11, reforming the U.S. music licensing system.

The legislation, which had bipartisan support, included provisions to update copyright law for more streamlined digital music licensing, establishing a system to speed up licensing and payment for copyrighted musical works. It also created uniform rate-setting standards that will be used by the Copyright Royalty Board, a collective of three copyright judges who determine rates and terms for copyright statutory licenses.

Additionally, the law requires artists who recorded works prior to 1972 to receive song royalties, fixing a loophole in prior music copyright law; and it will improve royalty payouts for producers, mixers, and sound engineers.

"This legislation creates a single licensing system for reasons of simplicity, for digital music providers, so that music is more quickly licensed and paid for, [and] ensures that American songwriters receive fair market value when their songs are streamed or purchased online," Trump said at an Oct. 11 bill signing ceremony.