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.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is currently embroiled in a legal battle with ATT over the nature of ringtone licensing. Last month (June 2009), ASCAP filed an opposition to ATT's motion for summary judgment on the question of whether ringtones can be considered public performances.
ASCAP claims that ringtones are public performances and that its songwriters and publisher members deserve a cut of the ATT's ringtone revenue. Many groups and individuals disagree.Hear that? Your cell phone is ringing -- and under copyright law, that might just be a public performance. read more
A judge ruled yesterday that music download services (iTunes, AOL and the like) don’t have to pay a public performance royalty to songwriters for music downloads. ASCAP had brought the action. Here’s an interview with a Billboard reporter on the ruling and a deeper analysis at Film Music Magazine. Here’s an excerpt from the Film Music piece that explains what it all means: read more
The last few years have been a roller coaster ride for the music industry.
As stories have moved from Arts & Entertainment to the Business sections
of major media outlets, the public has become aware of the new realities
facing the industry. Whether its the challenge of the internet,
or increasing globalization, everything seems to be up for grabs. Performing
Rights Organizations (PROs) have been at the center of a lot of these
controversies. Although most musicians and songwriters are familiar with
ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, what do these organizations do and how are they
positioning themselves and their clients for the future? read more
Attorney Walter McDonough's Policy Primer for the Music/Tech Environment
Thursday, June 15, 2000
Walter McDonough is an entertainment/intellectual law attorney practicing in Boston, MA. This is part two of a continuing discussion with Walter about the legal and legislative maneuvering that’s underway surrounding digital download technology. Walter is also one of four founding members of the Future of Music Coalition, a lobby group that represents the interests of independent bands and labels in the digital age.
J = Jenny Toomey
W = Walter McDonough
J: Okay, tell me what specific legislation concerns you most? read more