Get on the Bus! Could the Music Modernization Act be the Trojan Horse for Orphan Works?


orphanworks-net from Internet Archive

When you read through the Music Modernization Act’s prohibition on statutory damages, “reasonably diligent search” and global rights database clauses, you can’t help but think of the orphan works efforts from years past by some of the same cast of characters that is around the MMA in the Congress.

Orphan works–if you recall–was a bill that went down in flames after a similar omnibus type effort (and when I first came to loathe these omnibus plans that can easily be hijacked).  It created a huge backlash from the broader copyright community including the Illustrators Partnership, photographer groups, authors and indie labels.  Brad Holland of the Illustrators Partnership has an extensive post on the subject published on The Trichordist.

Since there is such broad based “agreement” around the Music Modernization Act and since the MMA already has orphan works type provisions, this fact will not be lost on people from the copyleft (such as Spotify lawyer Professor Christopher Sprigman who has written extensively on these concepts).

Wouldn’t it be odd and kind of hysterically funny to find that the much ballyhooed Music Modernization Act ends up really haveing nothing to do with music or modernization and becomes just a trojan horse for those old yearnings to be realized.

Good thing the city fellers are in charge.