After a long and winding road thatâ€™s too much to go into here, the Section 115 Reform Act a/k/a SIRA (or the â€œCopyright Modernization Actâ€? as it came to be called) has been withdrawn by Representative Lamar Smith.Â Although there were some major warts that developed in the form of amendments to the bill, itâ€™s a real shame that this issue couldnâ€™t get resolved and another session of Congress will pass without songwriters getting paid monies that are accruing at all the online subscription services.
There will be finger pointing all around as to who is at fault and what killed the bill, but what should not be lost is that David Israelite and his legislative staff at the National Music Publishers Association and Digital Media Association did a great job of getting a solution formulated, negotiated, drafted and introduced as legislation, which is more than anyone else has done on this Maalox moment.
Make no mistake, this copyright legislation thing is tough sledding.Â You may not agree with the solution in SIRA, you may have problems with the amendments or you may have problems with the nuts and bolts, but the fact is that copyright legislation often takes a session or two or five to get passed and no one else has advanced a solution as far as SIRA got.Â Itâ€™s not the core negotiation teamâ€™s fault that other forces derailed their efforts, and I for one will not countenance any back stabbing, disrespect, name calling or revisionist history on this one.Â SIRA was, as a general proposition, a workable solution to a difficult problem and the industry owes the negotiation team and especially Representative Smith a vote of thanks.
Chris Castle is a music attorney in Los Angeles where he represents artists (including KOAR fav 10 Years), producers, music industry executives, songwriters, independent publishers and record companies, and technology companies.Â Chris is a contributing editor to Entertainment Law & Finance and writes the Music-Tech-Policy blog (http://music-tech-policy.blogspot.com/).Â He is on the board of directors of the Austin Music Foundation and moderates the digital panel at SXSW.Â Before law school, he was the drummer for Jesse Winchester, Long John Baldry and Yvonne Elliman