We are not lacking for “ewwwww” moments, as long as Donald Trump is in the spotlight and running for president. The latest cringeworthy, laughable statement that he made is about Taylor Swift. Naturally, because she’s in the limelight today along with her boyfriend, Travis Kelce. Tonight was Kelce’s night and in many ways, both of their nights.
So naturally, Trump, who simply cannot stand it that there’s any event going on in the world which doesn’t feature him prominently, managed to wrestle the attention away from Swift and Kelce. Or try to. Taylor Swift, he made it known, owes him bigly.
OMFG. Can you believe this? He did nothing on this bill except sign it, and that’s not coming from me, that’s coming from Dina LaPolt, a key attorney behind the MMA, who spoke to Variety about this.
“This [claim] is funny to me,” she wrote. “Trump did nothing on our legislation except sign it, and doesn’t even know what the Music Modernization Act does. Someone should ask him what the bill actually accomplished.”
While the full wording of the act, which was created to update the rights of songwriters and creators in the digital age, is available from the U.S. Copyright Office, a succinct summary can be found in a 2020 post on the Library of Congress website.
“Basically, the MMA changes the way songwriters and music publishers are paid statutory mechanical royalties [permission to reproduce and distribute recordings] when their work is streamed on interactive streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify, or sold on downloading services like Amazon Music,” the summary reads. “Beginning in 2021, a nonprofit entity designated by the Copyright Office, called the Mechanical Licensing Collective, or MLC, will collect and distribute these royalty payments to copyright owners of musical works matched to sound recordings in its database. And down the line, but no earlier than 2023, any unclaimed royalties can start being paid to copyright owners and songwriters of matched works according to each work’s market share. But to get paid, you will need to register your songs with the MLC.”
A bullet-point breakdown of the updates and improvements that the act instituted can be found here.
(In fact, the usually apolitical Swift has spoken out against Trump in the past, writing in Elle in 2019, “Invoking racism and provoking fear through thinly veiled messaging is not what I want from our leaders, and I realized that it actually is my responsibility to use my influence against that disgusting rhetoric.”)
Trump did indeed sign the act in 2018 — which had been passed unanimously by Congress after years of work by its proponents — politicizing the signing by doing so in a photo opportunity including such boosters as Kid Rock, the Beach Boys’ Mike Love, John Rich, the Doobie Brothers’ Jeff Baxter and others; Kanye West had been expected to attend but did not.
Regardless, the passage of the act was greeted with great enthusiasm by all corners of the music industry, as it updated a woefully obsolete copyright law that had been passed in 1998, long before the proliferation of streaming.
Odds are Trump doesn’t even remember the occasion of signing the act but somebody in his entourage brought it up so he could make a big show about it. Simply unbelievable. This legislation ha nothing to do with Trump. It was years in the making and he just happened to be in the Oval Office when it was passed.
Expect some blow back from this. This is nuts.