Items tagged "Music Licensing"

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The Online Censorship Machine Is Revving Up: Here Are a Few Lessons Learned

April 18, 2019 copyright directive , Copyright Reform , DMCA , Fair Use , Music Licensing

About a week ago, I did my usual check-in with Rick Beato’s channel on YouTube to see what new videos he had in store for me. I’m a former working musician, and one who supplemented my income by teaching music, so I was easily sold on Beato’s combination of fun music-related videos like “Top 20 Greatest Rock Guitar Sounds” and in-the-weeds educational videos on music theory. His channel is one of many on YouTube that offer music education, cultural preservation, and creative ways to bring great music to wider audiences. So, needless to say, I was less-than-thrilled to see that he had just live streamed a rant against a huge uptick of efforts to block his videos and those by other creators who also rely on using musical elements to create new content. These copyright strikes had been targeting many of these creators’ most successful videos, which often had been around for years and had attracted big audiences — some with over a million views. One of the impacted videos was Beato’s 20-minute piece on the history of rock guitar, which was taken down for using just 10 seconds of a live, improvised guitar solo by Ozzy Osbourne’s former guitar player, Randy Rhoads. One of Paul Davids’s videos was blocked for playing one chord (Dsus2 for those music geeks following along) in a guitar lesson video. Even in the squishy world of fair use, these seem as close to slam dunk examples of fair use as you can get.

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Spotify’s Copyright Royalty Board Appeal, Decoded

April 10, 2019 Copyright , Copyright Reform , Music Licensing , Royalties , Spotify

Nothing has dominated recent music news (at least not since the passage of the Music Modernization Act) as much as Spotify’s decision to appeal the findings of the Copyright Royalty Board, or CRB. The move prompted backlash from music publishers and a rebuttal from Spotify, but the actual facts of the debate are buried under piles of legalese.

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The New Music Modernization Act (Mostly) (Finally) Gets It Right

September 26, 2018 CLASSICS Act , Legislation , Music Licensing , music modernization act , Public Domain

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a new and improved version of the Music Modernization Act, following the Senate’s lead from last week. We had expressed strong reservations about the earlier iterations of this bill, and its impact on the public domain for sound recordings. We’re happy to say that after extensive negotiations spearheaded by Senator Ron Wyden, the new version of the bill brings these works more fully into line with with the existing copyright system for legacy works and finally allows these recordings to enter the public domain. The bill now heads to the President’s desk.

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A Payday Built on Bad Policy

April 9, 2018 CLASSICS Act , Music Licensing , Public Domain

Sound recordings made prior to 1972 don’t enjoy federal copyright protection. There’s a thorny legal and legislative history behind this, but the end result is that these recordings are only protected under state law. Federal copyright has evolved, with new rights, limitations, and user protections applied to copyrighted works — but not to pre-’72 recordings. And as the internet became ubiquitous, consumption of these works began to cross state lines, further muddying the waters.

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Copyright Supremacy: SONA’s Unsound Legal Theory

September 14, 2016 ASCAP , BMI , Copyright Reform , Music Licensing , SONA

Yesterday, the Songwriters of North America (SONA), a songwriter advocacy group, sued the Department of Justice over its interpretation of the antitrust consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI, the two largest U.S. performance rights organizations (PROs). The lawsuit alleges that the DoJ has, by simply reading the words of the consent decrees, unconstitutionally seized their property. While heavy on rhetoric, the complaint is light on actionable facts. It not only misunderstands the DoJ’s mandate, but is anchored in a breathtakingly overbroad vision of copyright law that should give any sensible observer pause, and serves as a reminder of the Copyright Office’s problematic relationship with industry.

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Private Interests Don’t Override the Law–in Music Publishing, Cable Boxes, or Anywhere Else

August 5, 2016 Antitrust , Copyright , FCC , Music Licensing , Unlock the Box

Two of the copyright issues Public Knowledge has been working on seem disconnected from each other, but there’s a common theme. In both the performance rights organization (PRO) and set-top box issues, policymakers should be clear in their understanding that private contracts can’t be used to override other provisions of law. Just as the interests of some industry participants don’t override legally-binding consent decrees, neither do they provide a reason for the Federal Communications Commission to ignore its statutory mandate to promote set-top box competition.

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A Closer Look at the Department of Justice’s ASCAP and BMI Consent Decree Review

July 18, 2016 Antitrust , Copyright , Copyright Reform , Department of Justice , Music Licensing

The music publishing industry has reacted in colorful and apocalyptic terms in its response to the leak detailing the expected conclusion of the Department of Justice’s consent decree review, in which the agency extensively examined the antitrust settlements binding the two largest performance rights organizations (PROs) in the nation, ASCAP and BMI. A closer look at Department’s reported conclusions suggests that the music industry response is overblown.

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Taplin’s False Choice Between Music and Technology

May 23, 2016 Copyright , Copyright Reform , DMCA , Music Licensing

Jonathan Taplin’s op-ed (Do You Love Music? Silicon Valley Doesn’t) in the May 20 edition of The New York Timesperpetuates a powerful dichotomy that has come to dominate debates surrounding copyright reform, specifically with respect to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): you’re either for the “creative” types, or you’re for the “technology” types. Pick a side.

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Celebrating Copyright Week with a Theatrical Copyright Revue

January 20, 2016 Copyright , Copyright Reform , Copyright Week , Music Copyright , Music Licensing

Happy Copyright Week! To celebrate, I’m looking back on all the exciting copyright cases that have occurred since last year’s Copyright Week, with courts and the music industry alike tackling everything from uncredited sampling to fair use dancing babies. I’ve rounded up some of the highlights of the year’s upheaval, and took the liberty of suggesting a few edits to reflect the changing times. (And yes, that does mean I’ll be reviewing landmark music copyright cases via lyrical skits.)

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What People are Missing About Kim Davis and “Eye of the Tiger”

September 11, 2015 Copyright , Music Licensing

By now you’ve probably heard about the furor over the use of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” at a rally organized by GOP candidate Mike Huckabee’s campaign in support of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. After YouTube footage of the Davis rally showed Davis entering the stage with “Eye of the Tiger” playing loudly in the background, Survivor’s Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik both took to social media to protest Huckabee and Davis’ use of their song.

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