Reps. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) and Ben Cline (R-VA) have joined together to re-launch and co-chair the bipartisan Congressional Songwriters Caucus to focus on advancing policies that support independent songwriters and strengthen copyright protections.
The new caucus has support from the Recording Academy, Nashville Songwriters Association International, BMI, ASCAP and the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), according to a press release. No specific names of independent songwriters were included in the release, and a representative for Lieu has not responded to Billboard’s requests for more information.
The caucus was originally formed in 2003 by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) when she served as a House representative for Tennessee. According to her website, part of her focus at the time was cracking down on China’s intellectual property theft and how that affected songwriters and other creatives.
The interests of musicians is also represented in Congress with the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus, which was established in 2005 and continues today, helmed by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and new Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
Hailing from Southern California, Rep. Lieu says he understands first hand how “talented songwriters… contribute to so much of our culture and society. I’m thrilled to join Congressman Cline in co-chairing the new bipartisan Congressional Songwriter’s Caucus, which will work to support America’s brilliant songwriters by ensuring they can protect their work and make a living doing what they love. Music contributes so much to our way of life, and we must ensure those creating it are compensated fairly. I’m grateful to the numerous songwriter advocacy organizations who’ve partnered with us on the creation of this caucus and look forward to working together to support our artists.”
“Making art, specifically music, is a powerful way to leave a mark on the world,” says Rep. Cline. “It’s a part of our everyday lives, from what we listen to on our commutes in the morning, to the music we select for our most important life events, such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals. But today’s modern music landscape can make it more difficult for certain artists, especially independent songwriters, to make a living. That is why I’m proud to co-chair the Congressional Songwriters Caucus, which will play an important role in promoting the songwriting community by working to ensure the creative rights of songwriters are protected.”
“It All Begins With A Song,” says Bart Herbison, executive director of NSAI. “the entire music ecosystem. Since the Songwriters Caucus was initially launched 20 years ago, technology has completely changed the way music is delivered. American songwriters still face challenges in the digital era and we are very grateful to Congressmen Cline and Lieu for their bipartisan support.”
“On behalf of our over one million affiliates, I’d like to thank Representatives Cline and Lieu for co-chairing the Congressional Songwriters Caucus. Both have always been champions for creators, and we are in excellent hands with them leading the charge for songwriters and composers on the Hill. We stand ready to work with them to ensure creators are supported by strong copyright law and that they are fairly compensated for their work,” adds Mike O’Neill, president and CEO of BMI.
“Songwriters are the foundation of America’s vibrant music industry, and we appreciate Representatives Cline and Lieu recognizing the importance of ensuring we have champions in Congress. As technology transforms the music landscape, ASCAP looks forward to engaging with members of the Congressional Songwriters’ Caucus to protect the rights of American music creators and defend the value of their hard work and creativity,” says Paul Williams, president of ASCAP.
“We applaud Representatives Cline and Lieu for leading the Congressional Songwriters Caucus and we are excited about today’s launch. NMPA is the leading advocate for music publishers and their songwriter partners and we greatly look forward to working with the Caucus to advance policy interests that will protect creators and ensure that songwriters thrive,” says NMPA president and CEO David Israelite.
“The Recording Academy is proud to support the re-launch of the Congressional Songwriters Caucus which helps connect songwriters and composers with lawmakers to ensure that their unique interests are heard and understood. We are grateful to the new Caucus Co-Chairs, Representatives Ben Cline and Ted Lieu, for their support and leadership and we look forward to working with stakeholders across the songwriter community to advance the Caucus forward,” says Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr.