BMI Songwriter Sheryl Crow Testifies on Capitol Hill

Posted in News on May 25, 2000
The House Judiciary Sub-Committee on Courts and Intellectual Property held an oversight hearing on "The United States Copyright Office and Sound Recordings as Works for Hire" on Thursday, May 25. At this hearing, BMI songwriter Sheryl Crow testified on behalf of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the American Federation of Musicians, AmSong, and the Artist Coalition. To read what she said before the panel, go to the House Judiciary Committee's site.

At issue in this hearing is a four line provision that was inserted into the United States Copyright Law late last year as a "technical correction. " This "technical correction" was inserted into the Satellite Home Viewer's Act after the Satellite Home Viewer's Act had been considered by and passed House and Senate Judiciary Committees without public hearings or notice. The Satellite Home Viewers Act was included in an Omnibus Spending Bill that was signed into law by President Clinton on November 29, 1999 . This provision is extremely controversial to artists, as previously, sound recordings were not considered "work for hire" and the copyright on sound recordings would revert back to the artist after 35 years. Artists' rights organizations and many legal scholars argue that this is a substantial change to the current Copyright Law and it should have been open to further debate. The Committee Chair, Howard Coble (R-NC), agreed to an oversight hearing on this issue, where lawmakers heard testimony on all sides to ensure that the new law is fair to all parties involved. If the lawmakers determine that that law is not fair to all parties, they have the right to repeal or alter the legislation.


Click here to go to BMI's Legislation Section