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Already hearin talk about catalog's becoming available and the possibilities of re issues of some important music for new generations of music lovers.


What about copyrights of recordings that include cover songs? This article seems to be about works written by the artist. Does the same apply to recordings in general? I represent an artist who recorded an album for a label in 1983 that included both original material and covers.


I find all this interesting and fascinating. It's really going to change the landscape of the music industry in the next few years. I feel that Creative Common Licenses are going to become stronger and more important also.


Dan Servantes

Here's my take on your situation.

As you know, all recordings contain two forms of copyright: 1) the composition 2) the recording. Unless you managed to negotiate some special deal on the mechanical license for the composition, you're probably paying statutory rate and nothing will change. As far as the recordings go, in 2018 you can reclaim your copyrights back from the label.

Ian Gibson, Esq.

I suspect labels, legacy artists and enterprising lawyers alike will be paying incredibly close attention to the results of this first wave of copyright transfer termination litigation. While all involved have undoubtedly been aware of this potential issue for, well, no less than 35 years, how it will be interpreted by various district courts is a relative unknown that could have serious implications on the industry as a whole.

As you noted, the work-for-hire issue presents one gray area to watch. Another is the issue of authorship itself. The language of the act does not provide a clear definition of this critical term.

It seems reasonable that those who materially contribute to the melody, lyrics, harmony, rhythm, etc., will be afforded some degree of authorship. But what of those who materially contribute to other aspects of the composition/sound recording? What about a hands on producer who steers a melody or lyric in a different direction, should they be given the right to file a termination claim? ...or anyone else on the production team for that matter.

Provided they do not fall under a work-for-hire arrangement, I anticipate interesting issues surrounding authorship, among other things, to emerge as termination litigation proceeds.

Thanks for the post, Dan.

-Ian Gibson, Esq.

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