music and copyright: a hot, stinking mess

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Presented at the Rutgers University Colloquium "Copyright Beyond Print", Feb 12, 2014


  • 1. Music and Copyright: A Hot, Stinking Mess Aram Sinnreich, Ph.D. Rutgers University School of Communication & InformationCopyright Beyond Print MLIS Colloquium Feb 12, 2014This text is freely available under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

2. 1. The Basics 3. Music Copyright Timeline Phono CopyrightCopyright for US composersProto- for English music publishersDMCAType of copyright 152717901831American conferred on authors but NOT composers1790: 14 years (+14)1889Public Performances1831: 28 years (+14)19091972Mechanical reproduction1909: 28 years (+28)Term of copyright19761998Synch rights1976: Life + 501998: Life + 70 4. Music and Copyright in the Recording Era RetailRadioArtists/Labels Masters Rights Retailers pay wholesale to labels Labels pay royalties to artists Broadcasters do NOT pay performance royalties on masters Promotion and payolaComposers & Publishers Publishing Rights Retailers pay wholesale to labels Labels pay mechanical royalties to publishers Publishers pay composers Broadcasters pay royalties to PROs (e.g. BMI) PROs pay publishers and composers 5. 2. Copyright and Corporate Power 6. Recording Contracts = Awesome 1. Transfer of ownership 2. Controlled composition clause effective royalties cut by 25%3. Net sales = 85% 4. Container charge = 25% deduction 5. New tech = 20% deduction (e.g. CD, MP3)6. Cross-collateralization 7. Recoupment RIAA: