Music copyrights and royalties are a mess of government regulation and meddling. Jim Sensenbrenner wants to solve problems with yet another government database. I say no!

I like Jim Sensenbrenner, and I think he’s supported many good bills over the years, but I just can’t support the Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act. The bill would “modernize” music copyright by having government create a massive database of “musical works and sound recordings”. Sounds harmless right?

The problem is that this would threaten every musician out there. Your ability to sue someone for copyright infringement would be limited if the information in that government database was missing or inaccurate for any reason. We would turn an entire industry into one that is one hundred percent dependent upon Big Brother to approve your ability to make a living.

I’m all for musicians getting paid, but a government database isn’t the answer. They can’t even keep the voter rolls accurate; how will they ever manage to keep a music database up to date? Instead, I prefer simplifying the law.

Darrell Issa wants to help with the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act. Terrible name, yes. Really awful. But it addresses a real problem: music recordings from prior to 1972 have been stuck in a legal limbo, letting big corporations make use of them without having to pay. Issa’s bill would fix that. Level the playing field.

Ideally we’d get government out of the way as much as possible, but for now, baby steps. New government databases are not a baby step, so I have to oppose the Sensenbrenner bill.