SoundExchange petitions government to address inequities it claims cost U.S. creators $170M a year

SoundExchange has made a move to increase the rates paid to American music creators for international uses of their work. The rights management agency for performance royalties claims that U.S. music creators could be losing out on $170 million annually from this use case. To address the issue, SoundExchange filed with the Office of U.S. Trade Representative with claims that Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK have not been granting full national treatment to American producers and performers.

“Full national treatment” is a principle that guarantees one set of laws in a country gives equal protection to its domestic works and to foreign works. SoundExchange is arguing that those six countries have not been offering that treatment to U.S. creators in the payment for traditional broadcasts, public performances, and some digital cases. It added that other countries have also denied full national treatment to U.S. creators, but those countries are the largest where the issue has occurred. SoundExchange is asking the government office to engage in discussions with those nations to address its concerns about full national treatment.

“In the U.S., our law treats all creators equally,” SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe told Billboard. “Foreign artists receive the same royalties as U.S. artists. We’re simply asking our trading partners to compensate American music — some of the most valuable and popular recordings in the world — to the same extent they compensate their local repertoire. It’s not right that we send $100+ million in royalties to these six countries, but receive only $3 million in return. It’s as simple as that.”

Anna Washenko