The Music Modernization Act, a sweeping overhaul of mechanical copyright laws, could face its final hurdle in the Senate today. Billboard has cited sources who claim the legislation could be hotlined for the Senate this afternoon. Hotlining is a process for proposed laws that are expected to be passed unanimously by a verbal vote. Usually, this action is reserved for small, non-controversial legislation.
If only one Senator votes against it during hotlining, the legislation will go to the Senate floor for debate, which would open up the act for possible amendments and changes. Given the amount of debate it has already sparked from opposing players within the music industry, a failure to pass in hotlining could stall out the endeavor until after the midterm elections. With a new makeup in Congress, the move to overhaul mechanical licensing might have to start over from scratch if it does not pass in this session. And there are still fractures in the generally consistent support for the act. Sirius XM has been critical of components that would make the satellite radio service legally responsible for making payments on music recorded prior to 1972 when federal copyright law took effect.
Read more about the multiple components of the Music Modernization Act here.