@theblakemorgan: Courage Deserves Support: Vote for Rep. Jerry Nadler on June 28 in NY-10

blake nadler
Rep. Jerry Nadler and Blake Morgan

One of the remarkable things about the fight that music makers and music lovers are waging (and waging together) is that it’s a fight that knows no allegiance to political party. Courageous Republicans and Democrats are standing together for once on these issues––just as we Americans hope and urge them to, on so many issues––and, they’re doing so to improve the current landscape for American music makers.

Congressman Jerry Nadler‘s leadership and courage on behalf of American music makers is unmatched in Congress. He was the first member of Congress I was ever invited to meet with. He was the first Representative to stand with ‪#‎IRespectMusic‬. He’s co-authored (with Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn) the ‪#‎FairPlayFairPayAct‬ to ensure that music makers get paid fairly for radio play.

He’s also co-sponsored (with numerous Republicans) the ‪#‎SongwriterEquityAct‬ to ensure that songwriters receive royalties that reflect the fair market value of their intellectual property. This Tuesday June 28th, Rep. Nadler has an important primary, and as a proud constituent who lives in the 10th District of New York, I’m voting for him. I’m casting my vote for courage.

I’m casting my vote for music. I’m casting my vote for respect. Decisions are made by those who show up. And I’m going to. Courage deserves support. #IRespectMusic

Google Shills Pile On: Feds don’t protect pre-72 recordings except with the Safe Harbor


I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this.

From One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, screenplay by Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey.

The creative community was visited with yet another example of the corruption of the so-called “safe harbor” with the ruling from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the Vimeo case.

This is particularly offensive to pre-72 artists and their heirs who already have the government’s boot on their throat with the “Pandora loophole” that gives digital services a dodge on paying royalties on pre-72 recordings under the compulsory sound recording license.  The Vimeo ruling just gave artists the government’s other boot up the butt on safe harbor.

Here’s the logic:  Law clerks who are wannabe Googlers see to it that Google always wins.

No, sorry, here’s the logic:  Federal copyright law does not protect pre-72 sound recordings which are protected (if at all) under state law.  The Pandora loophole is a supposed ambiguity in the federal copyright law establishing a performance right in sound recordings, a compulsory license in those recordings, and a royalty for that compulsory license.

So according to Pandora, federal law does not protect pre-72 masters from exploitation by Google, YouTube, or Vimeo.  Only state law protects those recordings because the Congress did not explicitly include them.

But–when it comes to federal protection of the insane DMCA safe harbor, federal law protects tech companies exploiting those same pre-72 recordings.  The Second Circuit gets to this tortured interpretation of the safe harbor by relying on the copyright treatise written by Google’s Senior Copyright Counsel and rejected the learned counsel of the U.S. Copyright Office which favored excluding pre-72 from safe harbor.

The Second Circuit’s decision turned on this sentence (p. 28):

Congress did not qualify the phrase “infringement of copyright” by adding, as it did in other circumstances, the words, “under this title.”
So because Congress didn’t say “under this title” to limit the safe harbor to exclude pre-72 recording, remember that they didn’t say “under this title” to limit the compulsory sound recording license to exclude pre-72 recordings, either.
Remember, this is the court that gave us the absurd ruling in Viacom v. YouTube that allowed Google to build yet another business on our backs.
Because what’s good for the goose is just good for the goose.  No ganders allowed.

@danielkreps: Trent Reznor on YouTube’s ‘Very Disingenuous’ Business Model

“The last 10 years or so have felt depressing because avenues are shutting down. Little shrines to music lovers – record shops – are disappearing,” Reznor said. “And every time there’s a new innovation, the musician is the one that didn’t have a voice at the table about how it’s presented. I thought, if I could make a place where there could be more opportunities, and it comes with more fertile ground, and music is treated with a bit more with respect, that interests me. It’s not, “Oh, I hope I get on that taco commercial.”

Read the post on Rolling Stone.

Nile Rogers: Music makers to Congress: We are family

Last month, 200 music creators gathered outside The Capitol for a song and demonstration asking for fair pay.  Kathy Sledge led the group, singing the 1979 hit “We are Family,” a song I had the privilege to co-write and produce for Sister Sledge.  At the time, it seemed like just a fun conclusion to GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day.

But given recent developments in Congress, “We are Family” now feels like a policy statement.

Read the post on The Hill.

@repjerrynadler: Copyright law should play fair and pay artists for radio play

Terrestrial radio gets a free ride and an advantage over its digital competitors. Performing artists, background musicians and other rights holders of sound recordings receive absolutely no compensation when their music is played over the air on AM/FM radio. The bottom line is that terrestrial radio profits from the intellectual property of recording artists for free. Almost every other country compensates performing artists for radio play. The shortlist of countries that don’t includes Iran, North Korea and the United States. It is a disgrace that needs to be remedied, and it is well past time that we align ourselves with the rest of the free world.

That is why there is growing support for the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, legislation I introduced with my colleague, Vice Chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Committee Marsha Blackburn(R-Tenn.), to create a uniform system where radio services compete on a level playing field, and all performing artists are fairly compensated.

Read the post on The Hill

#irespectmusic: T Bone Burnett’s Speech on Capitol Hill for Artist Pay for Radio Play

Last week a bunch of artists including Roseanne Cash, David Poe and T Bone Burnett rose up on Capitol Hill to ask for the support of brave Members of Congress for the Fair Play Fair Pay Act–artist pay for radio play.  This will require the Members to stand up to Google’s raw lobbying power and the insidious pressure from the National Association of Broadcasters which is either an act of great political courage or political suicide.  We won’t know which until the Members take a swing at the bullies.

Here’s the text of T Bone’s speech:

The First Amendment gives us freedom of speech.

For most of us here, that’s at the very core of who we are — the freedom to speak, to sing, to create, to tell stories.

But the First Amendment does more than that — it says all Americans have the right to “petition their government for redress of grievances”.

That’s why we’re here today– from all over the country, from all kinds of music, from all walks of life.

Creators and artists petitioning our government.

Demanding change in a music economy that isn’t working.

Petitioning this Congress to step up and update the obsolete laws that have made such chaos of the business side of music.

Doing what we can to right wrongs that have plagued creators for decades — from the player piano dance halls to today’s infinite cyber jukeboxes.

Reminding the digital entrepreneurs- the iTopians- that they are partners in this brave new music ecosystem — not in charge of it.

Read it on Medium.