R-E-S-P-E-C-T

ArethaThe Respecting Senior Performers as Essential Cultural Treasures (RESPECT) Act, introduced as House Resolution 4772 on May 29, 2014, would require digital music services to pay royalties for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972. Ironically, although Thomas Edison patented the mechanical phonograph cylinder as the first practical sound recording and reproduction device in 1878, the protection of sound recordings was governed only by state statutory and common law until 1972, when Congress passed the Sound Recording Amendment to the 1909 Copyright Act, which finally made sound recordings eligible for federal copyright protection. The RESPECT Act seeks to close a loophole in current copyright law that excepts digital music services that transmit or stream music by Internet radio, cable, or satellite, such as Sirius XM Radio, from having to pay performance royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings. The RESPECT Act does not confer federal copyright protection upon such sound recordings. If the law passes, legacy artists from the formative days of Rock-n-Roll, performers behind the Motown Sound, ‘60s folk and psychedelic rockers, and others, will be entitled to payment of royalties under federal statutory licensing requirements.