Robin Thicke pushes back against copyright litigation threats.
Robin Thicke is apparently being accused of infringing copyrights in Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" and Funkadelic's "Sexy Ways" in his single "Blurred Lines." Apparently in response to demands that he pay licensing fees to the estate of Marvin Gaye and Bridgeport Music, Inc. (the company that has bought up the rights to Funkadelic's songs), Thicke is asking a court to state conclusively that he's not infringing copyrights.
The Commerce Department's Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) is right to delve into the complexity of music licensing in its recent paper on copyright, but we also need to understand how consolidation and business practices shape the licensing landscape if we want to create a more robust and fair music marketplace.
Among many other important issues, the Department of Commerce's recent paper on copyright discusses how copyright is shaping the current state of online music licensing (starting on page 77). To be fair, the paper doesn't purport to be a completely comprehensive examination of what's helping and hindering a healthy music licensing market, but without at least mentioning some of the biggest issues facing the marketplace today our policies might be misguided and ineffective.
First of all, the paper rightly recognizes that the best defense is a good offense, and notes studies crediting the development of legal music services as a leading force in decreasing infringement online. This is a good reminder that everyone--artists, intermediaries, and listeners alike--stand to benefit from a well-designed music licensing system that encourages a robust marketplace.
For those who are journeying down to sunny Austin, Texas for
the kick-off of the SXSW Music festival today, don’t forget to check out Public
Knowledge’s panel tomorrow,
where we’ll be talking about the effects of market concentration on consumers,
artists, and digital platforms.
The panel, inspired by the recent merger between major
record labels Universal Music Group and EMI, will also include artist advocate
and principal of WYZ Girl Entertainment Lita Rosario, CEO of indie label
association Merlin Charles Caldas, manager and CEO of V. Brown & Company
Vernon Brown, and Paul Geller, co-founder of The BKRY and former SVP of
Last week we broke down the details of the Internet Radio Fairness Act, the recently proposed bill that aims to update the compulsory licenses for online radio services. This week we’ll be delving more into the real world impacts of IRFA.
At the end of the day, the proposals in IRFA are a good start toward promoting a healthy, competitive radio marketplace, but there are still a couple of missing pieces that the bill must include to truly be technology-neutral and to fairly balance the interests at stake in the radio marketplace.