The Music Modernization Act (MMA) has passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee, taking music creators a step closer to appropriate licensing and royalty rules for the streaming era. It now has to pass a full Senate vote before hitting the president’s desk.
The music copyright overhaul essentially partners Apple Music, Spotify, and publishers under a single licensing agency, streamlining the license management process. Songwriters and accredited artists will be paid out for songs recorded before 1972, while new rights will be granted to music producers and mixers. Older musicians who missed the streaming boom and studio engineers look to benefit here in the form of royalty checks coming their way if passed.
One of the most important facets of the bill is an overall standardization of payment rates between distribution services and rights-holders. It’s about time music law addressed the streaming industry because the current system is still set up for physical music copies.
Although the MMA has received criticism for its lack of consideration towards medium-sized business, most in the industry are in favor, seeing this as a long-awaited, financial organization of the current music landscape. D.I.Y. musicians, and musicians who own their own rights might still have trouble policing ineffective or inefficient licensing practices. More established artists, publishers, studio producers, and labels labels will benefit, giving them more time to focus on creating music and less time worrying about licensing and royalty structures. It’s a step in the right direction on this long trek towards fair compensation for music creators.
Net Neutrality laws set in place by the Obama administration in 2015 have officially been repealed by the FCC, to the outrage of millions of Americans. As if to add insult to injury however, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai iced the cake with a PSA video that essentially deems the whole of humanity undeserving of the internet anyway. The video is perhaps the most cringe-worthy display of disconnectivity Generation X has ever put forward, and it’s easy to tell because it ends with the most rinsed out display of internet use of all time: a “Harlem Shake,” a la Baauer.
The PSA reassures viewers that they’ll still be able to do things like shop for Christmas presents online, “these eclipse glasses are so cheap,” howls Pai. The next solar eclipse isn’t for eight years, scumbag. In that time, under these new regulations, internet service providers are going to be able to do things like block websites or charge consumers for higher-quality content and services. But luckily, we’ll all still be able to “gram our food.” Terrific.
The legal battle over Net Neutrality is likely just beginning and Baauer is also looking to get in on the fight. It appears the use of his “Harlem Shake” was not authorized by the FCC, go figure.
The LuckyMe producer is threatening legal action, joining dozens of other public figures from across the spectrum who are speaking out against the FCC’s 3-2 decision. Somehow “Harlem Shake” may have another day in court, though hopefully this time around the internet uses the song’s power to take Ajit Pai down. Get ’em, Harry.
Los Angeles duo Classixx are suing H&M for selling sweaters with the word “Classixx” printed on the front.
The clothing store chain has reportedly been selling the shirts without the band’s consent, leading the duo to file copyright infringement complaints against H&M last week. A representative for Classixx says the store has denied any wrongdoing and claims “the use of a word as a decorative feature on an article of clothing is not trademark use.”
In a statement from the band’s attorney, H&M has “denied any liability,” “threatened Classixx with claims for costs and attorneys’ fees,” and ”referred to the band as a ‘relatively unknown DJ duo.’”
Despite these remarks, Classixx is proceeding with their complaint and is taking H&M to court. Read their statement below.
Our client attempted to resolve this amicably with H&M before going to court. But, despite H&M’s blatant infringement of Classixx’s trademark and publicity rights, it denied any liability, threatened Classixx with claims for costs and attorneys’ fees, and insultingly referred to the band as a “relatively unknown DJ duo.” Clearly, H&M, which has been known to broadcast Classixx music in its stores, is no friend to the artist. For H&M to profit by marketing and selling without consent “Classixx”-branded apparel at its stores around the world is bad, but responding in the manner it did is even worse. The band looks forward to their day in court.
In a recent interview with the German music publication Groove Magazine, Eric Wahlforss, founder and technical manager of SoundCloud, announced a piece of very great news for DJs who want to upload DJ mixes to the site: anyone can now post DJ mixes featuring other artists’ copyrighted tracks without obtaining the rights beforehand.
“During the negotiations for SoundCloud Go, we achieved agreement with collecting societies like GEMA in Germany, making these problems a thing of the past – even for users who do not subscribe. This means that DJ mixes are now legal and problem-free on SoundCloud. So this is a very positive news for DJs.”
The popular streaming site recently implemented SoundCloud GO, a new paid subscription service created in order to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Prior to this feature going live, the negotiations between SoundCloud and large record companies had not gone over all that well, resulting in the labels, as owners of a large chunk of content on the site, forcing SoundCloud to remove all DJ mixes and remixes that did not have the appropriate rights.
The road has been rocky for the young company, as they had to deal with multiple controversial decisions such as the one described above that ultimately forced the take-down of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of tracks. Thus, this news comes as a relief not only for the company itself, but for the multitudes of producers and DJs, large and small, who prefer SoundCloud over other streaming services.