If you’re a copyright nerd (wait, you’re not?), you may have come across the issue of “pre-’72s.” In a nutshell, recordings made before February 15, 1972 are not protected by federal law, which can complicate how—or whether—royalties are paid for certain uses, like plays on internet or satellite radio.
Many people are unaware that there wasn’t even a copyright for recordings until 1972. Well, that’s not entirely true—some sound recordings made before ’72 are copyrighted at the state level. Still, federal protections are relatively new. At least when compared to compositions, which have been protected since the early 1800s (public performances of musical works came under federal law in 1897).
Debates about pre-’72 recordings might seem arcane, but there are major implications for today’s music ecosystem. First there’s artist compensation. The absence of a performance right for pre-’72s means that there’s no guarantee that recording artists are going to get paid fairly for the use of their work when played on Internet or satellite radio. (AM/FM broadcasters aren’t obligated to pay performers anything, though they do pay songwriters; more info on this crazy loophole here.) The lack of federal recognition also makes it more complicated for services to obtain a license to play music—and where there is no permission, there’s potential liability.
FCC Chairman plans to recommend censure against Comcast
Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin plans to recommend that the FCC issue a warning against the ISP for imposing "arbitrarily limits" on its subscribers. The recommendation, now circulating internally, would require various disclosure and procedural shifts without applying penalties. Margaret Kane, News.comread more
There’s been some buzz around FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s public backing of the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger, but we at FMC think that terrestrial radio is still worth making noise about. read more
This post is the first in a series about last October’s full-power, non-commercial licensing window opened by the FCC. Mike Janssen, project manager for FMC’s Full Power Initiative, will provide an up-close look at several applicants, while examining what this process could mean for listeners. read more
They say you better listen to the voice of reason / But they don’t give you any choice ‘cause they think that it’s treason. . .
-Elvis Costello, “Radio, Radio”
In the course of doing some internal research here at Future of Music Coalition, we rediscovered a fantastic article by John Nova Lomax, which ran in Houston Press back in January. The piece is all about how the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 resulted in the appalling homogenization of the commercial airwaves.
In the story, Lomax lays bare the tactics through which the National Association of Broadcasters claims diversity on the dial. FMC Executive Director Jenny Toomey is quoted heavily: read more
On Saturday, July 14, FMC Deputy Director Kristin Thomson will be moderating a panel called "Can You Hear Me Now? This Ain’t Your Grandfather’s Radio", one of the many discussions scheduled to happen during the Recording Academy’s Independent’s Day event in Philadelphia.
Kristin, Billy Zero from XM Radio’s "Unsigned" channel, WPRB’s Jon Solomon and other panelists will talk about the state of radio, and the plethora of platforms that musicians can use to get their music heard. read more
Congress urges peace talks in Net radio conflict
In a hearing on webcasting on Thursday, members of Congress admitted that they were unsure how to balance the interests of webcasters with the need to compensate artists through royalties. Since the new royalties are effective on July 15, Congress is urging webcasters and SoundExchange to work things out independently in order to beat the deadline and avoid the collapse of small business webcasters. by Anne Broache, CNET, June 28, 2007 read more