New potential law could strip artists of right to refuse remixes and samples

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Richland123, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    New potential law could strip artists of right to refuse remixes and samples

    By Steve Knopper
    February 13, 2014

    If Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, the Eagles' Don Henley, Deadmau5, Sting and other top songwriters have their way, the U.S. won't change copyright laws to "strip" them of their right to refuse mashups, remixes and sampling of their songs. "I already have to allow other artists to record my songs without permission," they wrote in individual letters to the Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month. "Allowing them to materially change my songs or recordings without my permission is taking it a step too far."

    Numerous artists have been frightened since a Commerce Department task force submitted a 112-page "green paper" last July analyzing copyright laws and dealing with a huge range of topics, from remixes to YouTube cover songs to the record industry's lawsuits against 30,000 file-sharers. "The question is whether the creation of remixes is being unacceptably impeded," the task force wrote. "There is today a healthy level of production, but clearer legal options might result in even more valuable creativity."

    While the green paper only analyzes policy without making specific recommendations for action, the U.S. received dozens of comments from artists, songwriters, authors and companies such as Microsoft, Google and eBay. Some argued for artists' rights to sample older songs without fear of lawsuits or damages; a Future of Music Coalition letter quoted Public Enemy's Chuck D on hip-hop sampling: "By 1994, [sample licensing] had become so difficult to the point where it was impossible to do any of the type of records we did in the late 1980s because every second of sound had to be cleared."

    One letter cited artist Thomas Forsythe's "Food Chain Barbie" project, in which the iconic dolls are attacked by kitchen appliances — a social commentary about objectifying women. Mattel, which owns the dolls' copyrights, later sued the artist. "To require the payment of a license fee under such circumstances seems morally problematic at least, and objectively harmful at worst," reps for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Stanford University's Internet Law Center declared.

    Tyler, Sting and the other crusading songwriters worry the government's elaborate process for soliciting and publishing opinions will eventually hurt songwriters. "We've got to kill this now," Dina LaPolt, a veteran artist attorney who represents Tyler, Deadmau5 and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, tells Rolling Stone. "We're not interested in having roundtables where we can analyze and comment on how to cut away the artist approvals so you can bastardize their work."

    But despite the strong words from panicky artists, U.S. trademark officials insist they have no imminent plans for a new compulsory license that would give any artist or musician permission to remix songs or alter books without a license from the writer. "This will be a long and careful process," says Shira Perlmutter, a chief policy officer for the Patent and Trademark Office, which plans to make recommendations to Congress by the end of 2014. "It's possible we'll say the law is fine and doesn't need any changes.

    "We're certainly committed that we wouldn't recommend anything to undermine the rights of creators," Perlmutter adds. "It's going to be a busy year."
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    In my opinion, remixes and sampling show a lack of creativity and are nothing more than stealing someone else's work. I can't stand it and wish the laws would make it more difficult for so-called artists to do it. My brother is an intellectual property attorney and a friend of mine is an entertainment attorney who works with very high profile recording artists. I'm sure both of them will be keeping a close eye on this.
  3. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I'm confused here a little bit. Are the original artists (Sting et al) being compensated for the use of their material? Are there royalties or similar agreements made to when someone purchases the rights to do a cover? If that is the case and they are being compensated for the "sampled" or "remixed" music somehow, then they have entered into an agreement and are being paid for it. The artist or their publisher/record company/manager should have the right to not sell it, but how someone else decides to use it is out of their hands after the transaction takes place. If I buy a new bass, I pay that seller (who at one point payed the manufacture) for that instrument, and they have no right to tell me what I can and cannot do with the instrument. If they're going to turn around and claim I am "stripping them of their right to refuse my use of their instrument" and attempt to take the bass back, then they had better be refunding me what I paid for it.

    If the people sampling/remixing the original song are not paying for it, then I feel the artists have every right to be up in arms and to refuse that people do what they please with that music. Returning to my music store analogy, it would be the same as walking into a shop, taking a bass off the wall and walking out the door without paying for it. When the guy at the shop chases me to the parking lot and demands I pay for it, I could just tell him that he was "unacceptably impeding" my music career, and it "had become so difficult to the point where it was impossible to do any of the type of records we did in the late 1980s"? Really? There isn't a chance in the world that the law would take my side on that.

    I guess my stance is if someone is paying you for the use of your material, you shouldn't be able to dictate what they can and cannot do with it. If someone isn't paying you for the use of your material, then they shouldn't have the right to use it. Why do people think that the music business should operate in a complete vacuum from the rest of reality? If I can't walk into your store and walk out with a free bass because you are "impeding my art" you can't walk into my catalogue of music and take whatever you want to for free because you "need" it for your "art". Sounds like a pretty simple ruling to me...