Long Article on the Tennessee legislation mentioned in earlier post
"Legislation Designed to Pay Performers of Pre-1972 Musical Works May Create New Problems Without Solving Old Ones
Copyright law is a complicated beast, as just about any lawyer can tell you. It gets even more complicated when you're dealing with old sound recordings-those created before Feb. 15, 1972 aren't protected by the federal Copyright Act. The songs are protected-songwriters and publishers have always gotten royalties-but the performances of those songs aren't, which means singers and record labels generally don't get royalties for use of those songs.
For a while, this wasn't a huge issue, as radio has never paid royalties to any performers. But in 1995 and 1998, Congress passed laws giving the copyright owners of recordings licensing rights for digital performances. As satellite radio and Internet radio expanded, they began paying performance royalties-but not for pre-1972 recordings. This results in weird situations-if you listen to 1980s George Jones on SiriusXM, his estate will get paid for it, but if you listen to 1960s George Jones, the estate won't.
In 2011, the U.S Copyright Office issued a report recommending Congress take action to change this, but so far, nothing's happened. That's where state Sen. Stacey Campfield comes in.
"The music industry-they came to me and said, 'We're not getting our royalties.' They said it's something that could have a big impact," says Campfield, who has introduced the "Legacy Sound Recording Protection Act" (SB/HB 2187) with Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) to close the federal loophole in Tennessee.
And at first glance, the bill seems quite reasonable. Most of its language is copied directly from federal copyright law, says sometime music industry lobbyist Tony Gottlieb, who gave Campfield the legislation.
"There's a lot of music that predates 1972, and these musicians aren't getting paid for it," Gottlieb says. "They need our help. ... These are all the people we venerate."
Gottlieb says the legislation was narrowly tailored on purpose-he gave Campfield another, much broader bill (SB 2186) that copied California copyright law, but they decided not to push that forward. But Brandon Butler, a copyright attorney who is currently the practitioner-in-residence at the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic at American University Law School, says the narrowness of the bill is a problem.
"The bill is strikingly one-sided. It gives rights-holders even more power than they have under federal law, but it gives the public, including libraries, journalists, and even other artists, none of the reuse rights that federal law includes," says Butler.
Butler says he's concerned that a lack of reuse rights could prevent Tennessee libraries and archives from making copies of sound recordings for preservation purposes, or that teachers could no longer play old albums in class-that's technically a public performance.
"The law is likely unconstitutional because it lacks fair-use protections," Butler adds.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Steve Leggett
Sent: Friday, February 07, 2014 4:02 AM
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Subject: [ARSCLIST] Hollywood Reporter: "Record Labels Seek to Punish SiriusXM Over Pre-1972 Recordings"
The Tennessee state legislature also introduced pre-1972 legislation the other day.