(Originally published October 21, 2014 in Nekst.biz)
If you’ve read anything about copyright review in the last year, you’re likely familiar with the terms “willing buyer/willing seller,” “fair market value,” “free market” and “trained fleas.” Okay, maybe not that last one, but the first three are terms that seem to be getting nods of approval from most parties when it comes to potential changes in the copyright law. The fourth term is, unfortunately, something that maybe we’ve become. Let me explain…
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(Originally published September 16, 2014 in Nekst.biz)
Some people say the future of music is more access. Spotify, Pandora, and other digital service providers should be able to offer all songs as inexpensively as possible, even free to consumers in some cases. Others say the future of music is dependent on more control. Music owners should have the right to make their songs available when and where they choose, and at a rate determined by the owner, including the right to say “no”. These appear to be two diametrically opposing directions. Which way is the best? Which direction will increase the overall music revenue marketplace?
To explore, let’s take a look at what we know about taxes and tunes.
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(Originally published August 21, 2014 in Nekst.biz)
You probably already know this, but Garth Brooks is reportedly the best-selling albums artist of all time in the Unites States during the Sound Scan era (since 1991), and the third best-selling in the U.S. overall (behind the Beatles and Elvis). That order may be about to change. According to his press releases, Garth is about to allow his music to be purchased digitally for the first time. Up until now, he had refused to make his recordings available for downloads because he said he wanted consumers to buy albums, not individual songs. He could do that. He had that choice. Not because he was Garth, but because, as owner of those recordings, he had that right.
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(Originally published July 10, 2014 in Nekst.biz)
Music licensing is messed up. While that has been my opinion for a while, it became painfully clear during the month of June when I was privileged to participate in three different round table discussions on music licensing sponsored by the U.S. Copyright Office, taking place in Nashville, Los Angeles and New York.
After leading the Nashville and LA sessions, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights in the U.S. Copyright Office, Jacqueline Charlesworth, made reference to a humorous, but very poignant, book by Dr. Seuss to start the New York sessions. I remember reading the story as a kid. It’s called The Zax.
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(As originally published April 14, 2014 in Nekst.biz)
You may have heard about H.R. 4079, introduced on Feb. 25, 2014, which proposes to amend the current U.S. Copyright Law. “The Songwriter Equity Act of 2014” by its very title insinuates it helps songwriters. Public support from entities such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NARAS, NSAI and NMPA, strengthens that position. But how exactly does the new bill propose to help, and what, in all likelihood, will happen next?
First, let’s look at how this came about. Congressman Doug Collins, a freshman republican from Georgia, introduced the bill. I met Mr. Collins and talked with his staff in his D.C. office the day after it was introduced. According to Collins, “My constituents expect me to find the ways government is in the way of people producing what they can and take down those barriers. The SEA was an interesting, somewhat unexpected way to do that. Here’s a case in which government weighed in back when player pianos were a main way music was distributed and they haven’t changed with the times. Songwriters have paid the price for that.”
So what barriers do Collins and company hope to take down in order to “ensure fairness in the establishment of certain rates and fees?”
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