In the United States, royalties from the performance of musical compositions are collected and distributed by the Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) ASCAP, SESAC and BMI. Of these organizations—which distribute revenue to their songwriter and publisher members—ASCAP and BMI are governed by “consent decrees” originally issued by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) as a means to curb the anticompetitive tendencies of the publishing sector.read more
In any season of political campaigns, candidates on the trail tend to use music as a tool to energize and inspire crowds or motivate potential voters. It’s an American tradition that dates back to George Washington himself. Sometimes, though, candidates appropriate music whose authors and rightsholders may not approve of its use, for a variety of reasons. Past campaign cycles have generated a long list of artists angered by the use of their work, and already it seems the 2016 campaign season will follow suit. read more
A "second bite at the apple" for musicians and songwriters
FMC and Adam Holofcener
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Right to Terminate: a Musicians’ Guide to Copyright Reversion[i]
Unlike most countries, the United States copyright law provides musicians and songwriters an opportunity to regain ownership of works that they transferred to outside entities, such as record labels and music publishers. Congress established this “second bite at the apple” for authors of creative works after a period of 35 years. “Termination of transfer” is not automatic, however, and there are certain steps creators must take to regain the rights to their works. This guide aims to shed more light on the process for the benefit of musicians and songwriters who are eligible to reclaim ownership of their creations. read more
In the United States, royalties for public performances are paid to songwriters, composers and publishers. But what about the person who performs the song?
Consider this. When you hear Counting Crows’ recording of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ on the radio in the US, Joni Mitchell – the composer of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ – is compensated through BMI. But Counting Crows receive nothing for this performance.
However, if you hear the same performance on Sirius XM, or via a webcast, or on a cable music station – even on that terrestrial radio station’s webcast — both Joni Mitchell AND Counting Crows are compensated.
Why the difference? US terrestrial broadcasters are exempt from paying a public performance right for sound recordings. read more
The open internet is about choice, freedom of expression and access to information. Yet there are some corporations that want to change the basic structure of the web as we know it.
Certain telecommunications companies would like to charge content providers higher fees for the faster loading of their sites, which could alter the way we access the web. The result would be an Internet where those companies that couldn’t afford to — or didn’t want to — pay this toll would be relegated the slow lane. Independent and developing musicians could lose an ever-important connection to their fans, while listeners might find their access to the web’s varied, exciting and legal musical offerings severely compromised. read more
SoundExchange collects and distributes the digital public performance royalty, which means performers and labels get paid for digital plays of their music. In 1995, Congress passed Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act, which granted a performance right for the digital transmission of sound recordings. Previously, US copyright law contained no provisions for performance right in sound recordings. SoundExchange is the designated non-profit organization that collects the license fees and distributes royalties to those whose recordings were played digitally. Payees include the performer, non-featured artists and the sound recording copyright owner (most often, a label). read more
UPDATE: On December 18, 2010, Congressional champions joined with grassroots advocates and public interest groups — ranging from civil rights, environmental, arts, and religious organizations — to secure a pivotal victory in the effort to expand the diversity of views and voices on American radio. The Local Community Radio Act passed the House of Representatives and Senate, thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Lee Terry (R-NE) and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ). read more
Orphan works are copyrighted works whose owners are hard or impossible to identify or locate. Orphan works probably comprise the majority of the creative works of 20th century. They exist in a purgatory of sorts, not able to be used in new creative efforts or made available to the public due to uncertainty over the status of their ownership.
Orphan works are copyrighted works whose owners are hard or impossible to identify or locate.read more
The “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act” (PROTECTIP) is a bill currently introduced in the Senate [PDF]. It creates more opportunities for the government and interested individuals to police websites engaged in activities that infringe intellectual property (IP) rights.
Future of Music Coalition + Center for Media Justice
Monday, June 20, 2011
The Center for Media Justice (CMJ) — a grassroots media policy organization working to strengthen movements for racial justice, economic equity, and human rights — has teamed up with FMC — a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians — to issue a pair of informational briefs regarding the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.
AT&T is currently seeking government approval to buy T-Mobile, which would give one company nearly half of the wireless market in the United States. The briefs describe the negative impact the merger would have on innovation, creativity and speech, while providing creative communities a way to better understand and engage on the issue. read more