FMC once again engages in a federal government examination of copyright enforcement under statute, with an eye towards bringng industry actors into closer alignment to better balanance burdens for small-to-medium enterprise in music and technology.
Future of Music Coalition (FMC) respectfully submits the following reply comments to the Copyright Office inquiry on the safe harbors and notice-and-takedown provisions within 17 U.S. Code § 512. read more
On May 29, 2015, Judge Lous Stanton of the Southern District Court of New York reached a decision in a dispute over rates paid by the webcaster Pandora to the performance rights organization (PRO) BMI. This court oversees rate-setting for songwriters and publishers when their works are “performed” on any form of radio (as well as live venues, bars and restaurants).
Judge Stanton’s ruling sets BMI’s new fee at 2.5 percent of revenue from Pandora, up from the previous 1.75—an increase of 43 percent. However, a separate judge from the same district court reached an entirely different decision about rates for Pandora and ASCAP (the other main PRO). In that ruling, from May 6, Judge Denise Coteheld rates at 1.85 percent.
On its surface, it looks like the judges presiding over each case simply have divergent views regarding what the rates should be. And this may be true, but there are additional factors to consider.
Today, the United States Copyright Office released Copyright and the Music Marketplace, the result of last year’s Music Licensing Study—a project that combined roundtables in various cities with opportunities for written comments from stakeholders and the public. (FMC participated in the roundtables and official docket; see our initial comments here; reply comments here.)
There’s so much in the 245-page report that it’s impossible to offer a full breakdown of the recommendations in a single blog post. In fact, we’re still making our way through it, but the Executive Summary provides an overview of many of the key provisions. We certainly respect the effort it took to produce such a detailed report, and commend Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante for taking the initiative with such a thorny and complex issue set.
Future of Music Coalition submitted the following comments to the United States Copyright Office in its Notice of Inquiry on the Music Licensing Study. We examine the state of music licensing in America, and how the current regime impacts musicians, songwriters and independent labels.
Event hosted by the United States Copyright Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
My name is Casey Rae and I’m the VP of policy and education for Future of Music Coalition, a Washington, DC-based national nonprofit organization for musicians. Future of Music works in three areas: research, education and advocacy. We came together back in 2000, right around the time of the initial digital disruption. Over the last 14 years, we have analyzed and documented trends in the music sector, translated complex policy and legal issues for our musician and composer constituency, and produced original research on everything from artists’ access to healthcare to commercial radio consolidation to our most recent study on artist revenue streams. read more
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.
Future of Music Coalition filed the following comments with the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) in an inquiry related to a previously published “green paper” from the Internet Policy Taks Force (a joint effort also including the United States Copyright Office and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration).
Same issue, new lawsuit. The big three record labels (Sony, Universal and Warner Bros), along with indie ABKCO, are the latest to sueSiriusXM for underpayment of royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings.
Here’s a little background: Victoria Espinel is the chief officer of IPEC and serves the White House on matters of IP enforcement. In this capacity, she is tasked with coordinating the many federal agencies that work to prevent copyright infringement and counterfeiting. This covers everything from books, movies, and music to software, designer clothes andpotentially harmful consumer items. Espinel’s post at the White House blog provides a good overview of her work and purpose of the Joint Strategic Plan.
Here at FMC, the part of intellectual property we pay the most attention to is copyright.