Sunday, October 11, 2009

Musicians Want the RIght to Terminate Licences in 2013

Apparently today musicians can’t revert their rights ,so if the sign up to a bad deal they are stuck with it. But this is going to change and follow the lead of the comic book and make use of the termination rights in the Copyright Act. Techdirt brought this interesting situation to our attention in their article, ‘ Musicians Starting To Assert Copyright Termination Rights Against Record Labels.

They claim that a group of musicians are now lining up, or should that be a band of musicians grouping together, to claim their rights from the music production labels. Apparently they have to wait until 2013 which will be the first year musical works are eligible. The impact could be significant on the producers and the labels are trying derail it claiming the music created by musicians on the labels were, in fact, "works for hire." In 1999 the RIAA was got Congress to amend copyright law, to change musical works to "work for hire," which does not have a termination right associated with it. However following much protest Congress quickly backed down.

So as well as the potential challenges in the book world we have musicians rights now on the table. The right to revert rights under contract or after a period should be adopted by all. Today we have many publishers holding onto rights and wishing to flow them into digital and tear up the sprit of the original licence sending the works into a virtual back list and long tail. Some believe print on demand is a licence to create perpetual rights tethered to a contract that was often written for a different era.

1 comment:

j purdie said...

I don't think it's just eligibility Martin. Somewhere in the law it states that they have to give notice; a two or three year period. This is another factor in it not happening until 2013. Some interesting times ahead.