Reader Poll: What Day will the Librarian of Congress Appoint the new Head of the Copyright Office? — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

Congress will be in recess from December 16 to January 3 and the controversial Librarian of Congress gets to appoint a new head of the Copyright Office to replace Maria Pallante who was fired by the Librarian on October 21 in what looks to many like an actionable  constructive termination.  We think that the Librarian will avoid consulting with Congress about who she will appoint to run the Copyright Office because she’s gone rogue.

What better time to get her way (at least until Congress undoes her appointment) than to appoint the new Register during the upcoming Congressional holiday recess?  So we wanted to let you in on the office pool for which day she’ll make the appointment!

via Reader Poll: What Day will the Librarian of Congress Appoint the new Head of the Copyright Office? — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

MUST READ: Two Former U.S. Copyright Heads Defend Maria Pallante from Sacking by Rogue Librarian of Congress

Two former heads of the U.S. Copyright Office sent the following letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees in sharp criticism of the abrupt and possibly actionable sacking of Maria Pallante, the former head of the U.S. Copyright Office.  (The job title is “Register of Copyrights”.)  The letter attaches a detailed explanation of the role of the Copyright Office and the office of the Register and is well worth the read.  I haven’t included it in this post, but you can download the entire letter with the attachment here.

November 28, 2016


Dear Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Leahy, Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers:

We write to express our concern about the unseemly dismissal of the Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante. We write as former Registers of Copyrights, having served in that post collectively for the twenty-five years immediately preceding Ms. Pallante’s tenure. Our concern is focused on the implications of Ms. Pallante’s dismissal for the future of the American copyright system.

As you know, on October 21, 2016, the newly confirmed librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, abruptly removed Ms. Pallante from her position as Register of Copyrights. That Dr. Hayden’s actions were taken without any prior consultation with you or with the affected stakeholders only compounds our already serious concerns. In the 119-year history of the Copyright Office, no other Librarian has treated a Register with such disrespect. But our concern goes deeper than process, or dismay at the poor treatment of a dedicated public servant: the episode makes us question whether any Register, or the Copyright Office itself, can continue to serve the public interest under the current institutional framework. And we are concerned that in the current environment, many of the most qualified candidates will not seek the position.

Copyright has helped create our unique American culture, and it helps drive our global economic competitiveness. In the enclosed document, we detail the role the Copyright Office plays in the furtherance of both, and in the administration of the law and the development of copyright policy.

The placement of the Copyright Office in the Library owed more to an accident of 19th Century history than to a carefully considered plan for effective management. Since that time, the role of the Register and the importance of copyright have grown, and the competing missions and differing priorities of the Library and the Copyright Office have increasingly emerged as a source of tension. Neither Ms. Pallante’s endorsement in principle of greater autonomy for the Copyright Office nor Dr. Hayden’s decision to remove her created these tensions. Rather, they are inevitable given the divergent roles of the two organizations. Stripped to its basics, the choice is stark: Does Congress want modernization and independent copyright advice straight and true from the expert agency, or does it want copyright administration and advice filtered through the lens – and shaped by the perspective – of the head of the national library?

We urge you to give this matter your early consideration — for the benefit of future generations of artists, authors, entrepreneurs, and the American public. The United States needs a Copyright Office that is built to succeed.

Ralph Oman

Register of Copyrights 1985-1993

Marybeth Peters

Register of Copyright 1994-2010

cc:       The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein

The Honorable Dr. Carla Hayden

Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple-Claggett

@AshleyCullins: SiriusXM Could Pay up to $99M as Part of Flo & Eddie Settlement

SiriusXM will pay Flo & Eddie, and the other pre-1972 song rights owners in their class, at least $25 million as part of a settlement reached earlier this month on the eve of a California federal trial.

Pre-1972 sound recordings aren’t protected by federal copyright. So two members of oldies band The Turtles, Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (Flo & Eddie), sued to be compensated for hits played on stations like SiriusXM Radio’s ’60s on 6.

The duo won summary judgment in 2014 when the court found Sirius’ use of their music violates public performance rights.

That $25 million is just the baseline, according to a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement filed Monday. Just how much that needle moves depends on what happens in the East Coast companion cases — and if Sirius appeals the court’s finding of liability in this case.

Read the post on Billboard.

Flo & Eddie Class Settlement with Sirius on Pre-72 Sound Recordings

Big congratulations to Flo & Eddie (aka The Turtles) and class counsel Henry Gradstein for a great settlement in their indie label class action against SiriusXM for pre-72 sound recordings.  The settlement is a guaranteed $25 million payment against a 5.5% license for 10 years which is worth between $45.47 million to $59.2 million assuming Sirius continues to play the remaining class member’s recordings at the same play rate as the past.

Here’s a copy of the settlement–proving once again that brown shoes don’t make it!

Update: Class attorney Henry Gradstein gave us this quote about the settlement:

“We are grateful to our clients, Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan of Flo & Eddie and The Turtles, who had the tenacity to stay the course over three grueling years of litigation on behalf of all members of the class, because they believed in what was right.”

MTP Podcast: Pallante Firing, DOJ Appeal of BMI 100% Licensing Ruling, and Artist Advocacy

David Lowery and Chris Castle discuss firing of the head of US Copyright Office, DOJ appeal of 100% Licensing Ruling and Artist Advocacy via MTP Podcast: Pallante Firing, DOJ Appeal of BMI 100% Licensing Ruling, and Artist Advocacy — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

via MTP Podcast: Pallante Firing, DOJ Appeal of BMI 100% Licensing Ruling, and Artist Advocacy — The Trichordist

Also subscribe to get the podcast on iTunes!

Peter Godfrey-Smith: The Loss of Music

In New York City, a classical saxophone player I know was asked to play some live music for an event at a large, successful store that sells computers, phones, and other electronic equipment. The event was a product launch, and they wanted something innovative. The sax player was interested. The man from the store then added: “There’s no budget for this.” The musician was being asked to play, for free, surrounded by the machines that are destroying his profession.

Discussion has been going on for years now about the future of music under the impact of technology, especially computer downloads and streaming, and the subtraction of billions of dollars from every part of the music industry. I am offering some thoughts because it seems to me that a particular place is now being reached. The threat to professional music is becoming acute.

Read the post on The Conversation (h/t to @alisdairbirch)


[Editor Charlie sez:  big 45.2% increase in the number of people getting royalty payments from SoundExchange!]

SoundExchange just paid out more than quarter of a billion dollars to recorded music rights holders – its biggest three-month distribution in two years.

According to the US company’s latest data, it delivered $263.5m to labels and artists in the three months to end of September (Q3), up 29.2% on the previous year.

Quarter-on-quarter, that figure was up $49.5m on the $214m recorded in Q2 this year.

As well as there being more money in Q3, there were also more recipients: 37,681 distinct payees received royalties from SoundExchange in the quarter, up 45.2% from Q2 2016.

Read the post in Music Business Worldwide