U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden

Dave Blanchard/OPB

Music industry professionals are lobbying Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to stand down and allow a bill updating music rights laws to pass.

Musicians and industry groups have worked for years to update how music royalties are paid in the digital era. The resulting Music Modernization Act passed the House unanimously in May.

But Wyden introduced an alternative bill this spring that suggests streamlined laws for older music and less strenuous copyright protections than the Music Modernization Act.

Kevin Erickson, national organizing director for the Future of Music Coalition, said Wyden is threatening to block a full Senate vote if his provisions aren’t added to the main bill.

“I think it would be alright to talk about public domain, but that’s a separate conversation than this bill,” he said.

To derail five years of negotiations, Erickson said, would undermine the efforts of countless artists.

Wyden’s proposal has the support of archivists. He’s also seen backing from some big tech groups that oppose aggressive copyright protections on content.

But music interests have lined up in opposition to Wyden’s bill, from industry giants to Portland gospel singers and the Oregon-based distributor CD Baby.

Supporters will have to pass the bill by the end of the Congressional session or face scrapping it until next year.

Wyden’s office did not respond to requests for comment.