Spotify released one of their groovy ad campaigns last week. This time celebrating their freebie subscription campaign. You really do have to wonder where they find the people who come up with these things. Blake Morgan, David Lowery and David Poe all laid into Spotify with their own tweets.
Editors note #1 – Over the last year, this blog has been reporting on Google’s apparent use of proxies in an attempt to intimidate members of the EU parliament into voting against the proposed EU Copyright Directive. The Copyright Directive requires social media platforms above a certain size to do more to counter copyright infringement […]
A year later: A review of the campaign against EU copyright reform More recent findings allow a closer look at the campaigns, their backgrounds and, in particular, the key players in financing them. About a year ago, the German protests against the reform of EU copyright law began. A group of about 120 demonstrators gathered […]
Songwriters Guild of America Lauds US Copyright Office’s Announcement of Strict Oversight Approach to the MMA Music Licensing Collective
Independent Music Creator Organizations Look Forward to Working with Copyright Office in Protecting Songwriter and Composer Rights
July 8, 2019, New York City–The Songwriters Guild of America, Inc. (SGA), the nation’s largest and longest established advocacy organization run solely by and for music creators, has announced its support for the strict oversight approach adopted by the US Copyright Office this week in naming the consortium led by the major, multi-national music publishers as the official Music Licensing Collective (MLC) under the Music Modernization Act. The Copyright Office made clear, as requested by SGA in recently filed comments, that it intends to take an active role in reviewing the activities of the MLC in light of the potential conflicts of interest inherent within a board of directors that will include major music publisher representatives.
Under the Act, the MLC is charged with identifying the rightful owners of hundreds of millions of dollars in unmatched streaming royalties. Those royalties that cannot be tied to particular owners, according to the law, will eventually be distributed to music publishers on a market share basis.
“Obviously,” according to songwriter and SGA president Rick Carnes, “under such circumstances you need an independent, outside overseer to make sure that those potentially conflicted board members who would benefit from the MLC doing a lax job in identifying the proper copyright owners do not utilize their positions to pursue unjust enrichment of their companies, despite the best efforts of songwriters, composers and truly independent music publishers on the board to achieve equitable results.”
In specifically citing SGA’s comments that meaningful oversight is an imperative under the law, US Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple concluded that “[t]he Copyright Office has been provided with ‘broad regulatory authority’ to conduct proceedings as necessary to effectuate the statute with the Librarian’s approval. In addition to the regulations that the Office is specifically directed to promulgate, the legislative history contemplates that the Office will ‘thoroughly review’ policies and procedures established by the MLC….The Office intends to conduct its oversight role in a fair and impartial manner; songwriters are encouraged to participate in these future rulemakings.”
SGA had noted in its comments that it was “far more concerned with ensuring that music creator rights are fully protected against conflicts of interest and impingements upon the rights and interests of songwriters and composers under all circumstances, than in supporting one or the other candidate vying to be selected as the Mechanical Collective.” The organization is satisfied with the Registers’ recognition of the Copyright Office’s oversight opportunities and obligations, and very much looks forward to working side by side with the Office on various issues concerning MLC policies and actions.
Carnes closed by stating, “for over 85 years, SGA has operated with a two-word mandate: ‘Protect Songwriters.’ And that applies to the rights of both American and foreign music creators. Congress intended, and the president’s signing statement confirmed, that the Copyright Office is to play a key role in pursuit of that same protective mandate. The Copyright Office’s stated willingness and obvious ability to accept that challenge is very encouraging, and SGA –with the welcome participation of many of its fellow songwriter organizations in the Music Creators North America (MCNA) alliance and MCNA’s affiliated, global music creator advocacy groups– intends to do all within its power to assist it in doing so.”
Carnes also noted that in the event that it proves necessary to take further appropriate action, for example, to make certain that proper diligence is exercised by the MLC in attempting to identify copyright owners of unmatched royalties prior to distributing “permanently” unmatched royalties, or to ensure that contractual royalty splits with songwriters and composers are honored by publishers after receipt of unmatched royalties, “SGA is ready, willing and able to do that.”
SGA is also studying the issue of whether the statutes’ placement of limitations on damages for those plaintiffs who bring copyright infringement lawsuits after January 1, 2018 against digital music distributors is actually violative of the Fifth Amendment’s “takings clause,” rendering that section of the Music Modernization Act unconstitutional and unenforceable.
“SGA and the entire, independent music creator community have our work cut out for us,” he said. “But we are fully prepared to do whatever is prudent to protect the rights and interests of songwriters and composers and look forward to working closely with the US Copyright Office and the entire music creator community in doing so.”
The member organizations of Music Creators North America, of which SGA is a founding member, have endorsed this statement.
Songwriters Guild of America, Inc.
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In The Grand Deflection category, mark your calendars: Where were you the first time you heard the word “tech lash”? They are the spin they’ve been waiting for.
Facebook hires former senior government officials to lobby for Facebook to use its tools for more surveillance capitalism by roiling against the surveillance state that uses their tools to perfect the totalitarian state.
Welcome to The Party.
[Sir Nick Clegg t]he former deputy prime minister [and now lobbyist for Facebook] has said the social network plans to set up an independent oversight board to which people can appeal against content decisions made by Facebook. [But wait…they’re a platform…they’re a publisher…they’re a platform….]
He also defended the company, saying it was the victim of a “tech lash”.
Since there was no advance commitment or agreement on the budget for the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) under Title I of the Music Modernization Act, it appears that the clock is ticking on an agreement before the parties have to go before the Copyright Royalty Judges to be told what the budget (or the “assessment”) is to be. The Copyright Royalty Board has beat the July 8 deadline for noticing the proceeding and has posted the notice and the rules for the hearing.
The “Notice announcing commencement of Initial Administrative Assessment proceeding and requesting Petitions to Participate” can be found here:
The regulations require the participation of the MLC and the Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC) in the proceeding and permit the participation of copyright owners, digital music providers, and significant nonblanket licensees. 37 CFR 355.2(c)–(d).
The Judges hereby announce commencement of the proceeding, direct the MLC and the DLC to file Petitions to Participate, and request Petitions to Participate from any other eligible participant with a significant interest in the determination of the Initial Administrative Assessment…
Any participant that is an individual may represent herself or himself. All other participants must be represented by counsel….
Petitions to Participate and the filing fee are due on or before July 23, 2019.
The CRJ’s rules relating to the proceeding can be found here and have some relevant language relating to who can participate in addition to the MLC and DLC:
[T]he Judges believe that the views of other participants may be helpful, and perhaps essential, for the Judges to determine whether good cause exists to exercise their discretion to reject a settlement. The Judges, therefore, have modified [the regulations for the settlement negotiations and proceeding] to clarify that participants other than the MLC and DLC may participate in settlement negotiations and may comment on any resulting settlement.
Playlistomania? I wonder what it is on Spotify–that’s what 50 million tracks will do for you. If this replicates to “listener paralysis” (which seems plausible), it may help explain why the streaming revenue share model leads to declining royalty rates and greater concentration of wealth in a hyper efficient market share distribution. (Deezer reportedly conducted a similar study in 2018 using a casual poll with findings based more on age than choice.) Less is more, kids, less is more.
Nielsen’s new Total Audience Report found that the average TV viewer takes seven minutes just to pick what to watch….[A]mong adult subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) users, only a third of them bother to browse the menu to find content, with 21 percent saying they simply give up watching if they’re unable to make a choice when bombarded with options.