Smokey Robinson called for passage of music licensing legislation that will extend copyright protection to sound recordings made before 1972, an issue he said was “a livelihood thing” for many artists who no longer perform.
“It is not just about music,” he told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday. “It is about lives — they could really use that money.”
Robinson was the latest music legend to visit Capitol Hill to urge passage of the Music Modernization Act, a set of changes in the law designed to streamline music licensing and close a loophole in copyright law.
In the early 1970s, Congress extended copyright protection to sound recordings, but it was effective as of Feb. 15, 1972.
The rise of satellite radio and digital streaming has generated new airplay for classics made before that date, but often the artist and the label are not compensated. Robinson said that his music and that of The Miracles are played over 50,000 times a day, every day. An “arbitrary date on the calendar should not be the arbiter of value,” he said. Read more from Variety.