Saturday, February 07, 2015

U.S. Copyright Office issues muddy report on bringing rules for music licensing up to date

The United States Copyright Office of the Library of Congress has issued a 245 page report, “Copyright and the Music Marketplace”, link here surveying the way music licensing works and examining the need for legal and public policy changes given technology.
Vox Media interprets the report in a long article by Kelsey McKinney, “This horribly dull government report could change music forever”, link here. The Copyright Report shows concern over the lack of transparency, and the difficulty of users in determining the legal requirements for use.  But the recommendations still seem to favor corporate distributors (or “middlemen”) and licensing groups and maybe the law firms that dot Santa Monica Boulevard rather than actual musicians.  The proposed rules seems to consider the performance instance as more significant than the actual musical composition itself.  
But there are cases where artists write their own songs that are then used in movies or television series.  I was under the impression that the reproduction rights are always individually negotiated for each artists. (“I just want to do you.”) 
Right now, some broadcasting services, like Sirius XM, which I use in my car, get a bit of a break.
One problem seems to occur when people mix other people’s music in creating videos and short films, especially on YouTube and Vimeo. 

I know there is a practical problem for many artists (filmmakers as well as musicians) when they work with companies that help them with production, and then don’t do a good or consistent job of keeping the content available.   That’s one reason why I have stayed solo. 
There are also practical problems in getting content locked up in estates.

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