United States Copyright Office (2015a)
|United States Copyright Office (2015a)|
|Title:||Copyright and the Music Marketplace|
|Author(s):||United States Copyright Office|
|Citation:||Copyright and the Music Marketplace, United States Copyright Office (2015), available at http://copyright.gov/docs/musiclicensingstudy/copyright-and-the-music-marketplace.pdf.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||In 2014, 84 individuals, music management companies, legal organisations, and other interested parties responded to the First Notice of Inquiry and 51 to the Second Notice of Inquiry while 78 stakeholders attended roundtables in Los Angeles, New York, and Nashville.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
The United States has the most innovative and influential music culture in the world, but much of the legal framework for licensing of music dates back to the early part of the twentieth century, long before the digital revolution in music. Our licensing system is founded on a view that the music marketplace requires a unique level of government regulation, much of it reflected in statutory licensing provisions of the Copyright Act. The Copyright Office believes that the time is ripe to question the existing paradigm for the licensing of musical works and sound recordings and consider meaningful change.
There is a widespread perception that our licensing system is broken. Songwriters and recording artists are concerned that they cannot make a living under the existing structure, which raises serious and systemic concerns for the future. Music publishers and performance rights organizations are frustrated that so much of their licensing activity is subject to government control, so they are constrained in the marketplace. Record labels and digital services complain that the licensing process is burdensome and inefficient, making it difficult to innovate.
While there is general consensus that the system needs attention, there is less agreement as to what should be done. In this report, after reviewing the existing framework and stakeholders’ views, the Copyright Office offers a series of guiding principles and preliminary recommendations for change. The Office’s proposals are meant to be contemplated together, rather than individually. With this approach, the Office seeks to present a series of balanced tradeoffs among the interested parties to create a fairer, more efficient, and more rational system for all.
Main Results of the Study
The Copyright Office appreciates and agrees with the four grounding principles that were articulated by many during the course of this study, as discussed above. These are:
- Music creators should be fairly compensated for their contributions;
- The licensing process should be more efficient;
- Market participants should have access to authoritative data to identify and license sound recordings and musical works;
- Usage and payment information should be transparent and accessible to rightsowners.
As much as there may be consensus on these points, however, the opposite could be said of stakeholders’ views as to how best to achieve them. Having considered the plethora of issues that plague our current licensing system—and how they might practically be addressed—the Office has identified some additional principles that it believes should also guide any process of reform. These are:
- Government licensing processes should aspire to treat like uses of music alike;
- Government supervision should enable voluntary transactions while still supporting collective solutions;
- Ratesetting and enforcement of antitrust laws should be separately managed and addressed;
- A single, market‐oriented ratesetting standard should apply to all music uses under statutory licenses.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The report suggests a thorough restructuring of the music licensing system by congressional legislation, a Copyright Office review of the system several years following implementation, and a narrowing or expansion (particularly of 'opt-out' rights) into other areas of copyright protection, depending on the marketplace effect. The report recommends broad legislative reform with ample regulatory flexibility.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Stakeholders|
|Period of material under study:||2014|