Press Releases

“You can’t be a civilized society if you don’t appreciate and protect art and artists.” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R. La.) today met with Smokey Robinson, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Dionne Warwick, Darlene Love and the late Otis Redding’s daughter Karla on Capitol Hill to discuss legislation that protects the contributions of legendary artists.

The artists were in D.C. to support Sen. Kennedy’s bill, the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act, also known as the CLASSICS Act.  Sen. Kennedy introduced the bill with Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) in early February.  Their bill will help close a loophole that leaves some of our most cherished artists out of the federal copyright system and denies them fair compensation for their work.

Click here or the image below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s comments.

Sens. Graham, Hatch and Kennedy pictured with Smokey Robinson. 

Sens. Grassley and Kennedy pictured with Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Dionne Warwick, Darlene Love and Karla Redding, the daughter of the late Otis Redding. 

Click here or the image below to watch Smokey Robinson’s opening statement. 

Currently, federal copyright law does not protect sound recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972.  This has resulted in confusion, litigation and an unfair playing field for iconic artists in Louisiana and across the U.S.  The CLASSICS Act would acknowledge these artists’ contributions by compensating them when digital radio services use their recordings.  The act would bring federal law up to speed with the modern age of music platforms.

The legislation was discussed today at the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Art makes us more humane.  It helps us find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This bill helps all artists.  It helps singers, songwriters, engineers, producers.  It helps the digital music industry because our world has changed and the world of music that we love so much has changed as well.”

“I’m very happy to come and represent this proposal,” said Smokey Robinson.  “My message is simple: Musicians who recorded before Feb. 15, 1972, deserve to be compensated the same way as those who recorded after that date.  I know a lot of musicians and producers and writers who have fallen on hard times and could really use that money.”

The CLASSICS Act is supported by the American Association of Independent Music, the Recording Industry Association of America, Pandora, musicFIRST, the Internet Association, the Recording Academy, SoundExchange, Screen Actors Guild?American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Federation of Musicians, the Content Creators Coalition, the Future of Music Coalition, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, and the Living Legends Foundation. 

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