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.
Post authored by Communications Intern Olivia Brown.
In a decision that echoes their refusal to hear Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaumlast summer, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear Capitol v. Thomas last week. This case may represent the closing chapter of the RIAA’s lawsuits against individual file-sharers. read more
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.
Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that he would be stepping down from his post, which he has held since the 2008 election of President Barack Obama. read more
Yesterday, Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante testified before a House subcommittee on potential updates to the Copyright Act. As we mentioned in a previous post, the Act hasn’t been completely overhauled since 1976, though it did receive an addition in the form of the 1996 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) — which, in “internet time,” to borrow a Pallante-ism, was also quite a while ago.
(You can read Pallante’s written testimony here and watch the archived video here.)
Overall, we thought Pallante did an admirable job of describing the many varied interests in American copyright. We fundamentally agree with her assertion that, when it comes to copyright, creators and the public interest are not (or shouldn’t be) at odds. It’s crucial that on on the road to “the next great copyright act” we forefront the needs of creators and not just those of the big media companies. To parapharase Pallante, this is the best way to get the public to show true respect for an engine of American expression and commerce.
On Monday March 4th, US Register of Copyrights MariaPallantedelivered a speech at Columbia Law School entitled “The Next Great Copyright Act.” Her remarks drew immediate attention within the creative communities and beyond — after all, it’s not every day that the nation’s top official on copyright calls for Congress to overhaul existing law.
We were deeply saddened to learn that Jason Molina, the acclaimed songwriter behind Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Company, passed away Saturday after a long battle with alcoholism.
Molina leaves behind a vast and diverse body of work, bridging gospel, folk, and southern rock influences, anchored on his impressionistic, haunting imagery and arresting voice. We extend our sympathies and condolences to his family, friends, bandmates, and associates at Secretly Canadian. read more
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
Future of Music Coalition is well-represented this week in Austin at the annual SXSW Music Conference. Of particular note:
Michael Bracy will be hosting an official panel called “Navigating Washington in 2013” featuring FCC Commisioner Jessica Rosenworcel. The panel takes place at 5 pm on Wednesday. This is an exciting opportunity for SXSW attendees to connect with influential policymakers and get an inside view of how the policies that impact musicians are made.
Jean Cook will join Brian Zisk as a panelist on the topic of “Fair Play: Music Startups and Artists” on Tuesday at 5.
We’ll also be helping Brown Paper Tickets kick off their “Make Radio Challenge” with tacos, bloody marys, and some amazing artists and activists talking about the awesome opportunities offered by Low Power FM, starting at 11 AM on Tuesday.
And if you’d like to just meet up with FMC staff for drinks, Michael Bracy & Jean Cook will be hanging out at Ginger Man Thursday evening (with music curated by Jon Langford). Read on for the full schedule of appearances by FMC Staff, Board, and Advisory Board members!
This post authored by FMC communications intern Olivia Brown
Metadata. Sounds like a android with irony issues. But it’s actually important to musicians and composers.
So what is it? Metadata is information that lives with every file on your computer. Through a mix of words and numbers, metadata describes files so that they can be managed by both the user and the system. In the case of a music file, metadata refers to the tags associated with a particular piece of music — such as the artist, album name, year of release, etc. These tags are definitely useful for the listener in keeping track of a digital collection. For artists, it’s about tracking for downloads and plays, which can ensure timely and accurate compensation.
Unfortunately, not all systems to organize metadata are created equal. Non-rock artists, especially jazz and classical musicians, have borne the brunt of some of the most poorly organized metadata out there. This is largely because the new business models are often developed with only popular music in mind.