In what is positioned to address a growing issue for music artists, particularly in the hip-hop genre, a new bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Hank Johnson (GA-04) and Jamaal Bowman (NY-16). Titled the Restoring Artistic Protection Act (RAP Act), it seeks to protect artists from the the use of their lyrics against them as evidence in criminal and civil proceedings.
As a release announcing the proposed legislation astutely notes referencing the 2021 case Bey-Cousin v. Powell: “Freddy Mercury did not confess to having ‘just killed a man’ by putting ‘a gun against his head’ and ‘’pulling the trigger. Bob Marley did not confess to having shot a sheriff. And Johnny Cash did not confess to shooting ‘a man in Reno, just to watch him die.’”
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Specifically, the RAP Act would impact the Federal Rules of Evidence by adding a presumption