You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

RIAA artists unite for change in law

'Neutral language' sought to give creators ownership

Inspired by the need to present a united front against MP3.com, Napster and the rest of the unauthorized digital downloading community, the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA) and a diverse coalition of artist groups have hammered out a legislative recommendation to Congress that, if passed, would remove language classifying sound recordings as “works for hire.”

The controversial phrase was inserted at the 11th hour into an unrelated Satellite Home View Improvement Act that was, in turn, folded into a huge omnibus spending bill that President Clinton signed into law on Nov. 29.

Without this 1999 change, the Copyright Act of 1976 would allow recording artists to reclaim rights to their original master recordings after 35 years. The clock was set to begin ticking in 1978, putting records back in the hands of their creators starting in 2013.

Outcry set off

When the l999 change was discovered, it set off a tremendous outcry in the artistic community that culminated in widely publicized testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts & Intellectual Property (Daily Variety, May 25).

Wednesday’s agreement allows the warring parties to go back to Congress when the legislative bodies reconvene after Labor Day and try to insert the new clause into a bill that could be passed as earlier as September.

This may prove harder than it sounds and would not prevent future court battles over specific works.

Attorney Jay Cooper — who represented artist groups that stretch from the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, the American Federation of Musicians, the Artists Coalition and AmSong to the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and the Music Managers Forum — told Daily Variety that the challenge was coming up with “neutral language” amenable to both artists and the RIAA.”The change in the law last November was something that should never have happened,” Cooper added. “The artists needed the protection. They created the recordings. They paid for the recordings. They were entitled to have their recordings back.”

NARAS prexy-CEO Michael Greene said, “We look forward to now continuing to fight on all the many other fronts against those who would threaten the livelihood, vitality and legacy of our artists community.”

More Digital

  • Jingle Punks Jingle Player

    Jingle Punks at 10: How the Production Music Platform's Player Works

    Though its primary function is creative, Jingle Punks is built on a foundation of technology and administration. The patented Jingle Player that lets customers search for music using pop culture terms is both intuitive and efficient. Typing in “Reservoir Dogs” or “Starbucks” generates suggestions. Queries are monitored “so if there isn’t an exact match, we’ll suggest [...]

  • Jill Goldfarb - Jukin Media

    Jukin Hires TV Veteran Jill Goldfarb as VP of Linear Programming

    Jukin Media, which specializes in licensing user-generated viral videos, hired Jill Goldfarb as VP of linear programming. Goldfarb’s former tours of duty include serving as Discovery Channel’s VP of programming and as VP of program planning and scheduling at ABC Family/Fox Family Channel. Most recently, for the past five years she worked as an independent [...]

  • Imax Is Exiting the VR Space,

    Imax Is Shutting Down Its VR Business, Closing Remaining Three VR Centers in Q1

    Imax is making its exit from virtual reality (VR) official: The company notified shareholders with a SEC filing Thursday that it will close down its remaining three VR centers, and write off “certain VR content investments.” A company spokesperson confirmed the planned closures and shared the following statement with Variety: “With the launch of the [...]

  • Apple Music Connect Is Being Discontinued

    Apple Music Phases Out Connect Social Feed

    Apple Music has notified artists that it will be phasing out its Connect social feed. Artists won’t be able to post to Connect anymore effective immediately, and their existing posts will be removed by next May, according to an email sent to artists that was first published by 9to5Mac Thursday. “Today we’re streamlining music discovery [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Warns Creators They May See Subscriber Count Drops Amid Spam-Account Purge

    YouTube is enacting a broad purge of spam accounts over the next two days, and it’s warning creators they could see a big drop in subscribers as a result. According to YouTube, on Dec. 13-14, creators “may see a noticeable decrease” in subscriber counts. The Google-owned video service regularly works to verify the legitimacy of [...]

  • Ninja to Call 'Thursday Night Football'

    Ninja to Call NFL 'Thursday Night Football' Game on Twitch Free Live-Stream

    Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is Twitch’s most popular live-streaming gamer. Now he’s taking his play-by-play skills to the NFL — although it remains to be seen how many of his millions of followers are actually interested in his commentary on gridiron action. This season, Amazon-owned Twitch has provided free live-streaming feeds of the NFL’s “Thursday Night [...]

  • Amazon Starts Selling Chromecast Again, YouTube

    Amazon Starts Selling Google’s Chromecast Again

    Amazon is once again selling Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter, three years after yanking the product from its website. The e-commerce giant began listing the third-generation model of Google’s Chromecast streaming stick, as well as the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra, on its website this week. The move could be a first step toward a more comprehensive business [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content