Music and Copyright on the Curve: 60 day report

A question for you, dear reader:

A US-based band is recording an album of material they wrote, but wants one of the tracks to be a cover of The Rolling Stones’ song “Brown Sugar”, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The band sells all 500 vinyl copies of the album plus 500 downloads on iTunes to US customers. According to the current statutory rates, how much does this 4 minute, 30 second-long cover of “Brown Sugar” generate in mechanical royalties, based on these sales?

Do you know the answer?

This is one of the questions on our Music and Money Quizzes that has proven to be the most problematic for quiz takers, with only 24% of respondents getting it right. Think you can do better?

In mid-June, FMC launched a set of online quizzes.  Ranging from “easy” to “expert”, these multiple choice quizzes were designed as a fun way to test musicians’ knowledge of common uses of copyrights and sound recordings, and to give us – as advocates and educators – a way to identify concepts and realities that are the most confusing.

Over the past two months, over 2,000 quizzes have been completed. We will issue a report in October, but in the meantime, here are some other questions that have been difficult for quiz-takers:

A major US orchestra’s performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – recorded in 2012 and released on a major label – is for sale on iTunes.  How are the orchestra members who participated in the recording session paid for digital sales?

Only 37% of quiz takers knew the correct answer. Are you curious about how or whether orchestra members are paid for this? Take this quiz.

There’s a NYC-based session drummer who played on hundreds of famous records in the 80s and 90s, spanning many genres. Many of these famous studio recordings are still played on radio and streamed frequently. How is this session drummer paid when any of these recordings are played on Sirius XM?

57% of quiz takers got this right, but the other 40% chose a specific incorrect answer.  Here’s the quiz.

A 1980s rock band has their big 80’s hit used in a current major Hollywood movie. Their 1980s record label still owns the sound recording and, under their contract, they split the synch licensing fee with the label 50/50. They also wrote the song. Do the band’s songwriters receive any public performance royalties when the movie is shown in US movie theatres?

This one is particularly tricky. Even of those who took the “expert” quiz, only 41% got it right. Take the quiz and discover why.

These quizzes add to the resources that FMC offers to help musicians better understand the complex landscape in which a mix of copyright laws, licensing agreements and business practices determine if, how and how much creators are paid. We hope musicians find these quizzes fun and interesting. The answers will help us identify any persistent knowledge gaps in the music community and design better learning tools.

So take a quiz (or two, or three, or four) and see how you stack up.

A special note for music professors or educators: these can be a great way to test the baseline knowledge of incoming students. If you’d like to use these quizzes as a testing tool or an entrypoint to specific topics, kristin [at] futureofmusic [dot] org (subject: Music%20and%20Money%20Quizzes) (drop us a line) and we can discuss details.

Submitted by Kristin on August 18, 2013 - 9:18pm

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