The Copyright Corner: Proposed Changes to US Copyright Law

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by TonyG, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. TonyG

    TonyG Audiosexual

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    I am creating this thread to keep members informed of proposed changes to current copyright law in the United States. I am limiting the scope of this thread to those proposals that will have an impact on the music industry. Keep in mind that these bills are proposals and are not effective until they become law. For a better understanding of how a bill becomes law go to: https://lowenthal.house.gov/legislation/bill-to-law.htm. This thread is part of the Copyright Corner. A series of copyright related threads on this Forum. https://audiosex.pro/threads/the-copyright-corner.38499/

    H.R. 5447: The Music Modernization Act :like:
    Updates music copyright laws by creating a new compulsory blanket licensing system for mechanical works, updating the rate standards applicable to music licensing,modifying the rate setting process in the Southern District of New York, providing copyright royalties to pre-1972 artists, and ensuring that producers, mixers, and sound engineers are able to receive compensation for their creativity.

    Notes: This bill would update a decades-old system of mechanical licensing, set a statutory right to recognition for certain adjunct creators like sound engineers and producers and address the lack of a unified rate standard for music royalties.This bill is part of a package being called the “music-bus” bill which also includes the CLASSICS Act (HR 3301) and the Amp Act (HR 831).

    Status: This bill passed unanimously in the House (415-0) on April 25, 2018. It now moves to the U.S. Senate, where a hearing is scheduled for May 15 in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The House passage of the bill has been called by Recording Academy President & CEO Neil Portnow “a historic step forward for all music creators, ensuring that they are credited, paid, and shown the respect they deserve for the impact they have on our culture and daily life,” and National Music Publishers Association President & CEO David Israelite, praised it as “truly historic for songwriters and the entire music ecosystem which they fuel.”

    H.R. 3301: CLASSICS Act :like:
    To amend title 17, United States Code, to provide Federal protection to the digital audio transmission of a sound recording fixed before February 15, 1972, and for other purposes.


    Notes: This bill resolves uncertainty over the copyright protections afforded to sound recordings made before 1972 by bringing these recordings into the federal copyright system and ensuring that digital transmissions of both pre- and post-1972 recordings are treated uniformly.This measure is supported by American Association of Independent Music, the Recording Industry Association of America, Pandora, musicFIRST, the Internet Association, the GRAMMYs, SoundExchange, Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Federation of Musicians, the Content Creators Coalition, the Future of Music Coalition, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, the Living Legends Foundation, the NAACP and more than 300 major artists.

    S. 2625: AMP Act :like:
    A bill to amend title 17, United States Code, to provide for the payment of performance royalties to certain producers, mixers, and sound engineers of sound recordings, and for other purposes.


    Notes: Among other benefits, AMP would give music producers and sound engineers the ability to properly collect royalties from organizations like SoundExchange. Currently, SoundExchange splits digital (non-interactive) radio royalties with label and performer, while allocating a percentage for backing musicians and background singers. AMP would expand that allocation to include producers and engineers.

    H.R. 1836: Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2017 :like:
    To amend title 17, United States Code, to provide fair treatment of radio stations and artists for the use of sound recordings, and for other purposes.


    Notes: This bill establishes a performance right for artists. Right now, radio stations don’t have to pay artists whose songs they play on the airwaves (the stations pay performance royalties to the music publishers and the songwriters). The United States is the only developed country where this is the case. This act would require stations to pay artists and record companies a royalty.

    H.R. 3350: Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act :dont:
    To amend title 17, United States Code, to establish a database of nondramatic musical works and sound recordings to help entities that wish to publicly perform such works and recordings to identify and compensate the owners of rights in such works and recordings, and for other purposes.

    Notes: On the surface this bill appears to reform copyright law for the better, but in effect places a heavy burden on content creators. It would mandate that rights holders register via this new database or forfeit their eligibility for statutory damages. This bill is being described by advocates as a prophylactic for copyright infringement.

    Status: This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on July 20, 2017. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.

    UPDATE #1 https://audiosex.pro/threads/the-copyright-corner-the-music-modernization-act.38758/


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    The information in this post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should construed as legal advice from Audiosex or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this thread without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018 at 9:28 AM
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  3. BaSsDuDe

    BaSsDuDe Platinum Record

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    @TonyG
    I totally agree with credit where it is due, that definitely needed an addendum.
    As an overall perspective, see the PM I sent you between us "old school" guys :)
    Great stuff Tony and thanks for providing such an invaluable resource in updating us with what may affect every musician.
    As I said to you, the enforcement of what already exists needs a kick in the rear, for all musicians.

    I am still re-reading some of the documents. It is not like it's a light read, though incredibly important for every musician of any style.
     
  4. Aileron

    Aileron Producer

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    Great initiative, @TonyG .
     
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  5. TonyG

    TonyG Audiosexual

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    @BaSsDuDe and @Aileron: Thanks to both of you for your kind words. Protecting one's work should be the highest priority for any artist. Is it?
     
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  6. Voltus76

    Voltus76 Noisemaker

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    I get so lost when it comes to copyrighting music.
     
  7. TonyG

    TonyG Audiosexual

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    The law is complicated. What do we do when sick? We consult with a doctor. Artists should consult with an attorney that specializes in Entertainment Law. It is money well spent.
     
  8. BaSsDuDe

    BaSsDuDe Platinum Record

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    While the entertainment lawyers are great with their knowledge, the criminal lawyers avoid prosecuting infringements that should never have been allowed to occur. Perhaps if it actually was made a criminal offence instead seemingly requiring a civil prosecution, it might become a better deterrent to offenders.
    Just an observation though probably inaccurate on many counts.
     
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  9. TonyG

    TonyG Audiosexual

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  10. BaSsDuDe

    BaSsDuDe Platinum Record

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    @TonyG
    WOW...

    Everywhere below the equator could do with kick in the ....
    In saying that, it still has flaws because if it did not, Spotify wouldn't be sneering at every musician on the planet, the owners would be the belle of the ball behind bars.
     
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  11. digitaldragon

    digitaldragon Audiosexual

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    Now I've got some "light" reading to do.
    Thanks, @TonyG for making all of this available here!
     
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  12. TonyG

    TonyG Audiosexual

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  13. midi-man

    midi-man Rock Star

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    Yes thanks Tony, good info.
     
  14. beatmagnus

    beatmagnus Guest

    ..
     
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  15. TonyG

    TonyG Audiosexual

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    The proposal is to "distribute, to a producer, mixer, or sound engineer who was part of the creative process that created a sound recording, a portion of the payments to which the artist payee would otherwise be entitled from the licensing of transmissions of the sound recording." It will be the first time producers and engineers are mentioned in U.S. copyright law.
    This proposal can be found in full in the AMP Act PDF I have attached to this thread.(see below for more)
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  16. beatmagnus

    beatmagnus Guest

    ..
     
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  17. TonyG

    TonyG Audiosexual

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    Excellent question. To answer it we need to go back to what the AMP Act really is, or better yet what it will do. It will establish a legal procedure for producers and engineers for them to collect royalties directly from SoundExchange, rather than from the artist in question. Right now the practice is to accept "Letters of Direction" (LODs) from the artists instructing SoundExchange to divert a percentage of their royalties to others that were involved int the recording process. Under current law, producers and engineers rely entirely on this voluntary practice to enforce those provisions of their contracts in order to collect performance royalties from their work. The AMP Act would formalize this practice. There lies the answer to your question. A producer or engineer will receive whatever their respective contract stipulates.

    For sound recordings made prior to the enactment of the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act in 1995, the AMP Act would establish a special procedure for producers and other creative participants to seek permission from featured artists or their heirs to receive a share of royalty payments from SoundExchange. The bill requires the producer to: a) have a contract providing the producer a share of artist royalties, and b) certify that they made a reasonable effort to reach the artist or their heirs in an effort to obtain an LOD. Once those steps have been certified, SoundExchange is required to make a reasonable effort to!contact the artist or their heirs. If the artist or heirs do not object in response to either outreach effort, the producer may receive a set share of those royalties. If the request was for more than four months, a collective will weigh in on the request and, if approved, give 2 percent of the 45 percent to the mixer, engineer or producer. The 2 percent would be split evenly if there are multiple requesters.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  18. BaSsDuDe

    BaSsDuDe Platinum Record

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    This is very interesting. Is there a statute of limitations on this?
    For example hypothetically, can a producer who did a series of productions from 1980-2000 claim royalties on past works?
    While I totally agree that all credit should be given where it is due financially as well, there would be a degree of common sense in the application of this surely? Otherwise, it would become a paper trail nightmare further clogging the courts with claims on past payments not received.
    I am trying to look at the bigger picture.
     
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  19. TonyG

    TonyG Audiosexual

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    The cutoff date is 1995.That year the DPRA was enacted in response to the absence of a performance right for sound recordings in the Copyright of 1976. Prior to 1995 there was no statutory right to performance royalties collected from non-interactive, digital music services for the use of sound recordings. The DPRA established a statutory rate of 45%. If you read my explanation above, you need a contract that entitled you to a share of the royalties. In the proposal that is a statutory requirement. In other words, if you produced a record prior to 1995 and you charged a flat fee for your work do not expect to collect under the AMP Act.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  20. BaSsDuDe

    BaSsDuDe Platinum Record

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    As you can tell from our PM's, it seems ironic. That answers many things. Thank you :)
     
  21. TonyG

    TonyG Audiosexual

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    Everyone thinks that AMP automatically entitles you, as a producer or engineer to collect royalties, but it is not so.
     
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