November 2014

Flo & Eddie v. Sirius XM - The Other Shoe Drops on the East Coast

On October 22nd I wrote a detailed post discussing Flo & Eddie’s (owner of the Turtles’ pre-1972 sound recordings) suit against Sirius XM, and specifically the holding of a California federal district court that Sirius’s satellite radio broadcast and webcasting of these recordings was subject to a claim under California state law. (See The Kerfuffle Over Copyrights in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings). As I noted in that post, when sound recordings were added to the federal Copyright Act in 1972 pre-1972 sound recordings were not included – these works were not preempted by the federal copyright statute, and were left to be regulated under state law until (drum roll ….) 2067.

I also mentioned that Flo & Eddie had a separate case pending in federal court in New York, claiming copyright infringement of their pre-1972 recordings under New York common law.

On November 14, 2014, the federal judge handling the New York case issued a decision similar to that reached by the court in California.… Read the full article

Over the last 100 years the musical licensing business has evolved into a complicated system! This is a consequence of the evolution of technology, business practices and copyright laws. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I’ve been meaning to post this attempt by the U.S. Copyright Office to create a graphic that illustrates how music licensing operates. The copyright office published this graphic earlier this year, as part of its Musical Licensing Study – one of three active policy studies in progress at the Copyright Office. Click on the image to expand it.

Music Licensing Chart

 

Here is Professor Fisher’s attempt to illustrate some of this in his 2014 CopyrightX course. This is a screenshot at approximately 11:00 in this CopyrightX video.

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 1.00.58 AM

 … Read the full article

EU and UK Liberalize Access to Orphan Works - When Will the U.S. Catch Up?

One of the thorniest issues under the present U.S. copyright system is the law’s failure to accommodate the problem of  “orphan works” – works whose owners can’t be identified or located. In many cases copyright holders have died, gone out of business or simply stopped caring. This makes it difficult or impossible to obtain terms for the use of works that likely represent the majority of 20th century cultural artifacts, including songs, pictures, films, books, magazines and newspapers.

Mass digitization technologies and the Internet have created opportunities to make these works widely accessible, but they have also created risks for copyright owners – for example, many digital photos that should be protected have had their metadata stripped before being posted on the Internet, creating a risk that protected works may be mistakenly misclassified as orphans.

No one knows for sure how many bona fide orphan works there are, but estimates range between 25%  and 40% of all books eligible for copyright.… Read the full article