On Thursday, May 16, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition Policy and the Internet held a hearing entitled “A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project.”
Witnesses included Pamela Samuelson (University of California at Berkeley Law School); Jon Baumgarten (former General Counsel of the U.S. Copyright Office); Laura Gasaway (University of North Carolina Law School); Daniel Gervais (Vanderbilt Law School Intellectual Property Program); and Jule Sigall (Assistant General Counsel for Copyright at Microsoft). All of the panelists contributed to the Copyright Principles Project and its 2010 report [PDF].
FMC’s written testimony, which was submitted to the Committee for the official record, makes the basic point that creators must be included in future hearings, as their perspectives will help inform any apparaisal of the impact of existing (or proposed) rules.
Casey Rae is the deputy director of the Future of Music Coalition, and an independent musician/producer. I asked him about whether indie musicians have the ability to build an audience that matched their ability to distribute digitally.
“We have tremendous access to audiences, but as musicians we might not have leverage in the new marketplace that’s comparable to the folks who always had leverage in the marketplace,” Rae said.
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.)
When the powerhouse social media platform Twitter arrived in 2006, we saw some clear potential for music. 120-character text limitations aside, it seemed the service was destined to become a powerful engine for music discovery given the real-time, rapidfire exchange it facilitated.
Post authored by Communications Intern Olivia Brown and Communications Associate Kevin Erickson
Last week, we were dismayed to learn that friend of FMC, singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Franz Nicolay was robbed of his computer, tour cash, and passport while on tour in Paris. Franz has long been generous in sharing his insights on the life of a working musician with Futureblog readers. We encourage residents of Europe to go out and support Franz on his remaining tour dates, and everyone else to consider supporting him with a purchase through his Bandcamp page.
This unfortunate episode underscores a point we’ve been making for some time: as journalist Maura Johnston has memorably quipped, “being on the road doesn’t involve plucking bills from Cash Trees lining the highway.” In reality, touring is relentless hard work, and even for streamlined, no-frills acts, it’s not cheap. Even if they plan frugally, many artists ultimately wind up in the red. And it can be risky: thefts like the one Franz experienced are frustratinglycommon.
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
For the past twelve years, Future of Music Coalition has worked to inform and engage musicians and the music community on issues that impact artists and creative culture as a whole. Some of our work is very straightforward, such as reinforcing the notion that musicians have a range of views on a host of issues and must be included in discussions about their livelihoods. Some of it is nuanced, such as examining how artists are paid in the emerging digital economy and complex questions around copyright and technology. read more