A music licensing reform amendment, attached to a copyright term extension bill, which passed the House on March 25, scoring an important victory for the meetings andindustry, now faces a threat from the Senate.
Secretary of Commerce William Daley said that if the bill does pass the Senate, he will recommend that the president veto it. Another obstacle is that the bill will probably first go through the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who strongly opposes music licensing reform.
But all is not lost. "It's a real good sign the way things went in the House," asserts George Constantine, associate director, government affairs, American Society of Association Executives. "It's certainly not over yet."
If passed into law, the amendment would protect associations from vicarious liability suits: If an exhibitor, for example, played music without obtaining the proper license, the music licensing organization could no longer hold the association responsible. The amendment also would allow for local arbitration of disputes between music licensing organizations and their customers. Currently, all dispute resolution must take place in the U.S. District Court in New York City, an expensive and time-consuming route for associations.