Great news today that the appeals court upheld BMI’s ruling by the BMI rate court judge that there is no such thing as 100% licensing under the consent decrees. Although it’s like winning an appeal that the Sun really does rise in the East, it’s good to put that issue to one side and to poke a stick in Google’s eye.
It is axiomatic that as government expands, liberty contracts. Songwriters are among the most highly regulated workers in America, so on the continuum of liberty, guess where songwriters score? Most people are surprised by that unadulterated, and rather bleak, fact. After all, songwriters don’t make anything toxic or build in places they shouldn’t or dump chemicals in a waterway. Songwriters don’t have monopoly power. Songwriters don’t even get to set their own prices—the government largely does that in a very expensive and Kafka-esque process.
NPR’s Andrew Flanagan on the controversial Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act (TIMLAOA). via @philouza: New Bill Calling For Transparency In Music Is Surprisingly Opaque — Artist Rights Watch
There is a bill in Congress backed by the mega lobbying juggernaut called the MIC Coalition that would force songwriters and artists to “register” with the government in order to protect their rights from the biggest corporations in the world. Failing to do so would take away the stick of statutory damages and an award of attorneys fees to songwriters or artists who are victorious in copyright infringement litigation. Statutory damages and attorneys’ fees are the only real protection that the government gives these creators–the smallest of small businesses.
The Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act perpetuates the myth of the “global rights database” that no one who understands the complexities believes will ever be created. It sounds logical, right? We have county recorders for real estate, the DMV for cars, why not a database for music?
That is an 11th century idea being welded onto a 21st century problem, the Domesday Book meets a unicorn.