the right to be paid

From copyright to digital rights, from sheet music to online streaming… Not to mention the endless lawsuits against artists, cons, and listeners alike, you can’t help but wonder if we’ll ever figure this thing out.

Copyright law is under the microscope and I would like to share some of what’s been going on.

In one corner we have:

The Songwriter Equity Act, proposed and denied last year, is back in the halls of congress. With this act, fair market value and digital recordings will be taken into account when setting royalty rates for songwriters. This means songwriters will get what they’ve earned according to the current market they’re selling to, which will include streaming and down loads. This will lead to a much needed rehab of outdated copyright laws. Blow off some dust if you will.

In the other corner:

The LRFA (Local Radio Freedom Act) was introduced this past February. Terrestrial radio stations, or stations that are broadcast from physical locations on the FM and AM radio waves, do not pay performance royalties. In other words, artists are not paid for their work that is played on the radio. The most radio has ever done is  give artists a chance to be heard. The LRFA wants to keep it this way. Not surprisingly so, most artists and supportive organizations like the musicFirst coalition want to end terrestrial radio’s “free ride.”

We know the system is wrong as it stands. We just can’t seem to agree on how to fix it. At the moment, it is hard to visualize the path that will satisfy all sides. Is that even possible? The music industry and its law has become very complex and highly integrated. One wrong move and the whole thing collapses like it did back in the Napster days. That moment in the early 2000’s was the music industry’s wake up call. Nothing is forever, and if you don’t learn to adapt, you simply wont survive.

The following are links to articles I have read and referenced to:

Songwriter Equity Act Makes It’s Way Back To Congress
Music Publishing News Roundup 3.9.15: ASCAP, Songwriter’s Equity Act, Pandora & More
Songwriter Equity Act Re-Introduced to Congress
Debate Begins Over New Radio Royalty Bill Introduced in Congress

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