Not long ago, we reported on US Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante’s House Judiciary Committee testimony regarding “the next great copyright act.” Pallante described the need to update our existing laws to make them not only more comprehensible to the average American, but also work better in a rapidly-evolving technological landscape. We thought that her reasoning was sound and that she was focusing on the right areas, including the incredibly complicated licensing environment for music.
Clearly, the commitee was listening. Yesterday, at a Library of Congress event marking World Intellectual Property Day, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) signaled his intent to review the Copyright Act (which was passed in 1976 and took effect in 1978), with an eye to optimizing the laws to reflect current realities. You can read Goodlatte’s full remarks here. (Self-referential bit — Goodlatte also gave a keynote at the 10th Future of Music Summit.)
Music publishing is perhaps the most complex and little understood sectors in the music business. Most folks grasp that record labels own so-called “master recordings,” but many don’t realize there’s a whole ‘nother copyright in music. read more
If you’ve ever looked at who gets paid (and how) in the digital music space, you may have walked away dizzy. The two copyrights in music — sound recording and composition — wend their way through the marketplace in lots of curious ways. For us, the most important thing is how money gets back to the actual muscians and songwriters. read more
The interests of EMI’s publishing arm may not necessarily be those of the songwriters it represents. As it is now, ASCAP takes a fee from payments it collects, then distributes the rest of the money equally between songwriter and publisher. Casey Rae-Hunter, of the nonprofit advocacy group Future of Music Coalition, says the big music publishers don’t have the same obligations to songwriters that ASCAP does to those same people, its members.
“What is EMI’s responsibility to the songwriters who are part of their publishing empire, and can we trust that this company is going to honor the 50-50 split that songwriters have worked out and honored over the years?” Hunter asks.
[This post was co-authored by FMC Communications Intern Scott Oranburg]
Digital Music News recently published a series of automated pie charts that document the recording industry’s revenue streams over the past decade (2000-2011). The data paint an interesting — and, for some, troubling — picture about changes in the recorded music biz. We at FMC love geeking out over stats, but we’re more concerned with how musicians are making a living than the declining popularity of ringtones. To that end, FMC recently kicked off our Artist Revenue Streams (ARS) project, which aims to assess how musicians’ revenue streams are changing in this new music landscape. (If you’re planning on attending SF MusicTech Summit in San Francisco in May 9, be sure to catch project co-director Jean Cook’s ARS presentation and panel.)
This article is by FMC advisory board member Whitney Broussard, Esq. It originally appeared in the University of Georgia School of Law Intellectual Property Journal entitled Symposium: The Changing Face of Copyright Law: Resolving the Disconnect Between 20th Century Laws and 21st Century Attitudes (Vol 17, Number 1, Fall 2009). read more
[This post was co-authored by FMC Policy Intern Eric Perrott]
There’s no doubt that the 10th Anniversary Future of Music Policy Summit (Oct. 3-5, 2010) sparked plenty of conversations and even some controversy. Topping the list of the latter was the onstage chat between award-winning musician/producer T. Bone Burnett and music scribe Greg Kot of Chicago Tribune. Any press is good press, but we’re wondering if maybe some of the articles missed T Bone’s overall point. read more
A musician’s job is to create music, and nothing more. Any other responsibility corrupts his or her artistic integrity.
OK. That’s an adorable idea, but let’s get real. These days, artists are able to exercise individual control over each aspect of their careers, but that can be a lot of work. The good news is that technology has created lots of efficiencies in everything from recording, marketing, to booking. What once took huge teams now can now be accomplished with anyone with a decent laptop and an internet connection. Yet there are spaces where DIY hasn’t gained much of a foothold. read more