Well, this week, a New York City federal court passed (partial) summary judgement against ReDigi [PDF], ruling that the service is liable for infringement. In doing so, the court strongly rejected ReDigi’s claims that their activities are covered under “fair use,” as well as the aforementioned first sale doctrine.
What does this matter to musicians? Well, first off, musicians are also music consumers. Second, creator compensation looks different in a used marketplace (typically nonexistent). ReDigi did supposedly hold a percentage of revenue from “used” sales in “escrow,” but it’s a bit fuzzy how this money would get to artists.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the legal factors involved in the court decision. You can tell us what you think in the comments.
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
[This post authored by FMC Legal Intern Joseph Silver]
The first sale doctrine within American copyright and trademark law has been getting a lot of attention in recent months. A number of federal circuit courts have touched upon this important copyright principle, which says that when a consumer purchases a good on the legitimate marketplace, the law affords them the right to lend, resell and dispose of that item (along with a number of other related uses). However, the first sale doctrine, also known as the exhaustion doctrine, does not permit a purchaser to reproduce, publicly display or perform the work, all of which are exclusive rights held by the copyright holder. Absent a “fair use” defense for consumers, those rules are pretty steadfast. Still, the first sale doctrine is an important limitation on copyright, which allows consumers who have lawfully purchased copyrighted goods to choose how the particular copy they purchased is distributed. This much remains settled. Yet two issues have recently arisen that aren’t so cut-and-dry: whether the first sale doctrine applies to digital goods and whether it applies to goods manufactured internationally.
Future of Music Coalition respects intellectual property and copyright. We believe that musicians and songwriters must have the ability to be compensated for their work, regardless of where or how that work is used or accessed.
We also recognize that creators are not a monolithic group, and may have a variety of perspectives on issues at the intersection of copyright and technology. That’s why we think it is so important that the artist perspective is represented in debates about intellectual property in the information age. read more
Future of Music Coalition’s comments to the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) in the office’s efforts to promote the development of a Joint Strategic Plan for improving the government’s intellectual property efforts.
FMC recommends that IPEC take into consideration a broad range of stakeholders â€” including the independent music community â€” as it considers issues that could impact this sector, particularly matters pertaining to creators’ access to the still-evolving digital marketplace.
You may recall our post from a while back about popular mashup artist Girl Talk, where we noted all the clearance and licensing hoops he'd have to jump through for his records to be 100 percent legal. Our takeaway? The current sample license clearance process is likely too time-consuming and cost-prohibitive for Girl Talk to make his art legit. read more
Future of Music Coalition is once again curating a number of conversations at the annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference in New York City, January 8-12, 2010. Join us for sessions on the issues at the intersection of arts, technology and law; media, copyright and technology; and health insurance for creators.
To attend these sessions you need to be registered for the Arts Presenters conference. Click here for registration details. If you are an artist and would like to attend these sessions only and will not go to the APAP conference, email us at nicole[at]futureofmusic[dot]org
Head to FMC's official APAP page to see the discussions and presentations we'll be offering. read more
Back in 2005, I watched Public Enemy producer Hank Shocklee and funk godfather George Clinton debate this issue at a conference in D.C. Shocklee played increasingly short snippets of a song and wondered how much he should pay for the right to use each sample, as commercial hip-hop artists routinely do. Eventually, only a fraction of a note was left. “Am I stealing your performance… or am I just looking for the sound?”