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SXSW Music 2014

Copyright Termination Rules have to Change

Much ado has been made recently in the recording industry over a copyright law mechanism called the "termination" right, and for good reason. Section 203 of the Copyright Act gives authors a 5-year window to reclaim the rights to their works by terminating transfers or licenses they executed in or after 1978, starting 35 years after they granted the licenses

2013 marks the first year that the earliest protected sound recording licenses and assignments can be terminated. These reclamation rights give the author a second bite at the apple: a chance to take his/her masters back, reevaluate how much they're really worth, and then decide whether to market them herself or negotiate again with a record label or other distributor. This is a great thing for artists in a lot of different positions.

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  1. Have we seen mostly settlements of lawsuits?
  2. Are artists finding the process cumbersome? How can the termination process be improved?
  3. Going forward, what should an artist think about when deciding whether to terminate?
  4. How do the new termination rules impact people that matter most? Folks that want to listen to music. The fans that want access to new songs. How has this impacted them
  5. Will this have negative affects on people that sample songs or make mashups? How do the termination rules change the way they work with music protected by copyright.



Bartees Cox, Communications Associate, Public Knowledge

Meta Information:

  • Tags: copyright, music
  • Event: Music
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Licensing/Publishing
  • Track 2
  • Level:
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