WASHINGTON (WLS) — A new bill introduced in Congress on Wednesday would protect recording artists from having their lyrics used against them in court.
The RAP law, which means Art Protection Restoration Actaims to protect a musician’s right to creative expression.
“Except as provided in paragraph (b), evidence of a defendant’s creative or artistic expression, whether original or derivative, is inadmissible against that defendant in a criminal case,” the court said. law Project.
The paragraph includes exceptions, where the lyrics may be admitted if it has been determined that the defendant “intended a literal meaning”, he intended to adopt a literal meaning of non-original content, if the lyrics include references specific to the alleged crime, the words are necessary to determine the facts of the case or whether “the phrase has distinct probative value not provided by other admissible evidence”.
Tommy Munsdwell Canady, a rapper from Racine, Wisconsin, is currently serving a life sentence for murder after his rap lyrics were used against him during a trial.
Gunna and Young Thug are examples of other rappers embroiled in legal issues where the law, if enacted, could apply.
The sponsors of the bill use the example of Bob Marley who recorded “I Shot the Sheriff”, which was not a true admission of a true crime.
Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, co-sponsor of the bill, said the bill was aimed at a free speech issue, CNN reported.
“Without further action from Congress, the freedom of speech and artistic expression present in music will continue to be stifled, and that expression will be chilled, until the voices behind this protected speech are silenced,” Johnson said in a statement.
Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, another co-sponsor of the bill, said in the same statement that he was “deeply moved” by the story of a 17-year-old serving a life sentence after being convicted in part on lyrical evidence. and “continues to pursue his art in the face of our prison systems that would otherwise stifle black art.”
“We cannot imprison our talented artists for expressing their experiences or allow their creativity to be suppressed,” Bowman said.
Music industry leaders and groups, such as the Black Music Action Coalition, are showing strong support for the new legislation.
CNN contributed to this post.
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