RAP Act Seeks To Ban Song Lyrics From Being Used in Court Against Musicians
Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) and Jamaal Bowman (D-New York) have created legislation to protect the First Amendment right of rappers and other artists.
In the past two years, prosecutors have used artists’ lyrics as evidence against them in over 500 criminal cases, according to their press release.
The act titled the Restoring Artistic Protection Act, or RAP Act for short, “adds a presumption to the Federal Rules of Evidence that would limit the admissibility of evidence of an artist’s creative or artistic expression against that artist in court.”
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Many other names in the music industry are in support of the act, including the Recording Academy (the Grammys), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, Warner Records, Atlantic Records, Warner Music Nashville, Artists Rights Alliance, SAG-AFTRA, BMAC, MAC (Music Artists Coalition), SONA, 300 Elektra Entertainment, Warner Chappell Music, Warner Music Group and Warner Music Latina.
“Hip-Hop as a form of art is being critically endangered by this plague taking over our criminal justice system,” co-chair of the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) Willie “Prophet” Stiggers said. “Rap is undeniably the heart of not just popular music but American culture and deserves the same First Amendment protection as all other creative expression.”
Back in May, rappers Young Thug and Gunna were accused of felony drug possession with intent to sell, armed robbery and murder as a result of prosecution using the rapper’s music videos and lyrics as evidence of their association with the YSL gang.
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