Washington, D.C.— Future of Music Coalition (FMC) — a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians — has proposed a set of creator-centric changes to US copyright law to ensure that musicians and other artists are included in a solution to the so-called “orphan works” problem.
Orphan works are those whose rightful owner cannot be located. For a decade, policymakers have wrestled with a solution that allows for increased access to cultural expression while respecting the rights of copyright owners. FMC supports legislation to address the issue, and has provided the US Copyright Office with specific ways to include creators in their recommendations. read more
If you’re tuned into the music-tech-policy punditsphere, you’ve probably come across debates about “brand-supported piracy.” Put simply, this is when major corporations have their products advertised on sites that offer music, movies and TV shows to which they don’t have the rights. This doesn’t sit well with creators and content companies, who are frustrated at third parties making money from unauthorized access to their works.
As longtime champions of a legitimate digital marketplace where artists are compensated and fans can easily find lawful content, we understand the concerns. read more
Once upon a time, a performing artist signed with a record label (let’s call the artist Jimmy Hendricks, and the label Toe Jam Records). Hendricks had a pretty decent career, touring around the country, but his record didn’t make much of a splash, failing to receive significant airplay or “move units,” in recordbizspeak. Then, in 2010, an up-and-coming hip-hop artist dropped a pitch-shifted guitar lick from Hendrick’s tune “I Enjoy Rock ‘n’ Roll” into his bangin’ new track. The hip-hopper loved what this lick did for his song, but was justifiably worried about being sued for infringement.
Peter DiCola of Northwestern University School of Law and partner in the “Artists Revenue Streams”-project of the “Future of Music Coalition” has recently published a working paper entitled “Money from Music: Survey Evidence on Musicians’ Revenue and Lessons About Copyright Incentives”, which also will be published in the Arizona Law Review. Based on data of the “Artists Revenue Streams”-project, DiCola analyzes different income streams of musicians in the U.S. […]
Post authored by FMC Communications Intern Olivia Brown]
Like it, or despise it with the white-hot fury of a thousand collapsing suns, Fox’s show “Glee” remains a high-profile musical source for many, especially in the under-50 demographic. Its cover songs routinely show up on the iTunes charts, and as of last February, the cast of “Glee” was the eighth-best-selling digital artist of all time, according to SoundScan. They have also far surpassed the record for most charting singles on the Billboard Hot 100, which formerly belonged to Elvis Presley.
“Glee” is powered by covers, probably more so than its actual plot. People expect new arrangements and interpretations, and then snap them up on iTunes. But what happens when those attention-grabbing and sales-generating arrangements were not actually created specifically for the show? Does “crowdsourcing” arrangements — that have a good chance of charting — from musicians without permission or attribution run afoul of copyright?
Washington can be a wacky place. Case in point: on November 19, 2012, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) — an independent congressional body that advances party-centric policy analysis — issued a brief containing some pretty ambitious ideas for reforming federal copyright law. No sooner than the document was made public, it was yanked, with RSC Executive Director Paul Teller stating: “Yesterday, you received a Policy Brief on copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand.” read more
If you were to pose the question of why unauthorized downloading is so pervasive many answers would probably refer to the prevalence of convenient, unrestrictive file locker services. This wouldn’t be wrong—file lockers clearly provide the infrastructure that people need to go about their unauthorized downloading activities. Opposition to file locker services tends to focus on their role as enablers and facilitators of unauthorized downloading, and in some cases, their tendency to turn a blind eye to the illegal exchanges that are obviously happening on their websites. read more
Last Friday, Google announced a major update to its search engine algorithm that will lower the ranking of sites hosting unauthorized content. We at FMC think this is a good thing: why should musicians and independent labels have their official pages show up lower in search returns than those offering illegitimate wares? There are, however, some legitimate questions about how this new search rubric will be managed, and to which sites and services it will apply. read more