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Copyright and the Music Marketplace

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Citation Edit

U.S. Copyright Office, Register of Copyrights, Copyright and the Music Marketplace (Feb. 2015) (full-text).

Overview Edit

This study details the aging music licensing framework as well as the ever-evolving needs of those who create and invest in music in the 21st Century. In addition to providing an exhaustive review of the existing system, the report makes a number of recommendations that would bring both clarity and relief to songwriters, artists, publishers, record labels, and digital delivery services.

There is broad consensus across the music industry on a number of key points: (1) creators should be fairly compensated; (2) the licensing process should be more efficient; (3) market participants should have access to authoritative data to identify and license sound recordings and musical works; and (4) payment and usage information should be transparently available to rightsholders. But there is less agreement as to how best to move forward.

The Study’s recommendations address almost every aspect of the music landscape, including the existing statutory licenses, the role of performing rights organizations, terrestrial performance rights for sound recordings, federal protection for pre-1972 sound recordings, access to music ownership data, and the concerns of songwriters and recording artists. These recommendations present a series of balanced tradeoffs designed to create a more rational music licensing system for all.

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