WORK-FOR-HIRE BILL SIGNEDPresident Clinton signed the much-debated Work for Hire and Copyright Corrections Act of 2000 on October 27, allowing recording artists to reclaim ownership of their works and master recordings from their respective labels.
The controversial work-for-hire clause was added into last year's copyright law, essentially demoting artists by redefining sound recordings as works made for hire and tilting the balance of power toward the record companies. This clause created an outburst from many recording artists, such as Don Henley, Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel and Sheryl Crow.
Other industry-related organizations also pitched in this past year to reverse the added clause. In a letter to Chairman Coble of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP president and chairman, said, "One of the equities to consider in crafting copyright law...is the disparity that exists between the bargaining power of the performing artist and that of the recording companies."
The bill passed unanimously through the U.S. House and Senate this fall, allowing recording artists to reclaim their master tapes from labels after 35 years, with the start date in 1978, reverting the bill to its former state. The bill also establishes the National Recording Registry within the U.S. Library of Congress and a seal to identify sound recordings within the registry.
According to Michael Greene, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, "The President's signature signals the end of a long process...to reinstate the rights of artists and producers."
MP3.COM ORDERED TO PAY UNIVERSAL, LICENSES WITH NMPAA Federal District Court judge awarded Universal Music Group $53.4 million in statutory damages and attorney fees in its copyright infringement suit against the online music service provider, MP3.com. MP3.com does not intend to appeal the decision.
According to president and CEO of UMG, Zach Horowitz, the decision furthers the legal precedents to protect copyrighted works distributed over the Internet by sending "a strong message that copyright owners and artists need to be properly compensated."
Concurrently, MP3.com was granted a nonexclusive, North American license to use UMG-controlled recordings on the My.MP3.com system.
Meanwhile, My.MP3.com announced that it has reached another licensing agreement with the National Music Publishers' Association and its licensing subsidiary, the Harry Fox Agency, that effectively gives MP3.com users access to more than a million musical compositions.
According to Michael Robertson, CEO of MP3.com, this agreement represents one of the "key partnerships with companies to improve the distribution of music."
The proposed three-year agreement states that MP3.com will pay up to $30 million to HFA for up to 25,000 music publishers and their songwriter partners as part of two equal funds. One fund will pay HFA for past uses of music on the Internet service. The other fund will provide advance payments toward royalties.
For more information, visit www.nmpa.org.
RIAA BEGINS NEW ID SYSTEMThe Recording Industry Association of America announced that it has launched a project to develop a standardized system to identify digital audio on the Internet. This identification system will build on and integrate systems already in use, such as the International Standard Recording Code.
Because the new system is intended for worldwide use, the RIAA has chosen Rightscom Ltd., a UK-based consulting firm for design and development of identification systems, to manage the project. Additionally, the RIAA plans to involve other music industry segments, such as distributors and retailers, to help determine the requirements needed for the new identification system.
The RIAA also plans on working with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the Recording Industry of Japan (RIAJ) and member companies of those organizations.
In other RIAA news, the association has come to an agreement with the National Music Publishers' Association of America concerning new procedures to facilitate the licensing of songs distributed over the Internet.
The five major record labels represented by the RIAA have entered into an agreement with Harry Fox Agency, a subsidiary of NMPA, to allow music to be licensed through HFA.
For more information, visit www.riaa.com.
STUDY EXAMINES EFFECTS OF INTERNET AUDIOThe National Association of Recording Merchandisers hired Emerald Solutions Inc. to conduct a survey to examine the effects of Internet-based digital audio on the music industry.
Emerald Solutions investigated the impact of digital music on distribution, examined available options to increase consumer demand and recommended plans of attack for various industry segments. The results were based on interviews with industry participants, previously published research material and information gathered from former clients.
To find out more about the survey's results, visit www.narm.com.
PROPELLERHEAD MANAGES OWN DISTRIBUTIONPropellerhead Software, maker of synthesizer software ReBirth, Reason and Loop Editor ReCycle, announced plans to distribute its own products effective March 1, 2001. The company's products were previously distributed exclusively by Steinberg. Propellerhead will manage customer service, technical support and updates.
For more information on the company's distribution plans, visit www.propellerheads.se.
STANTON MAGNETICS ACQUIRES KRKHollywood, Fla.-based Stanton Magnetics, LLC, announced its acquisition of KRK, a manufacturer of high-end passive and active studio monitors.
A new management team will be appointed, while KRK's Huntington Beach, Calif., facility will be used as a West Coast distribution center for Stanton products.
HANOVER PARTNERS OBTAINS AUDIO PRECISIONHanover Partners announced that the acquisition of Audio Precision is complete. The sale will not change the management or other aspects of Audio Precision but the ownership will change.
DIGITAL HARMONY ADDS TO LICENSING PORTFOLIODigital Harmony Studios announced that it has licensed its portfolio of technologies to TC Electronic and QSC. Both licensing agreements provide TC Electronic and QSC access to Digital Harmony's IEEE-1394-based technology to develop pro audio products.
Under the agreement, all TC Group companies will have access to the licensed rights.
Costa Mesa, Calif.-based QSC licensed Digital Harmony's Interface for Video and Audio (DHIVA) embedded 1394 interface, software drivers and professional production assistant (PPA) software modules.
Other companies currently using Digital Harmony's technology include Cirrus Logic, JBL, Lexicon, Nippon Columbia and Peavey Electronics.
CORRECTIONSIn "All Access" in the October 2000 issue, The B-52's guitarist was incorrectly identified as Ricky Wilson. Ricky Wilson died in 1985. The guitarist in the picture is Keith Strickland, who originally played drums but switched to guitar after Wilson's death. Mix regrets the error.
There was an error in "Industry Notes" in the November 2000 issue. iZ Technology is not the sole distributor for RADAR. Otari corporation is also a distributor for this line.