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Posts Tagged ‘Address unknown NOIs’

Spotify Can’t Find Songwriters Performing at Spotify High Roller Party in Cancun

January 25, 2019 Comments off

Ah, Cancun, where the elite meet and the US Consulate is located next to the jail, convenient and useful for the Tech Bros.  But faster than  bros can launch Tinder for some Spanish lessons, Spotify commits another faux pas.

According to Digital Music News:

Spotify is currently hosting a pricey offsite meeting in Cancun, Mexico, with dozens or more executives and employees participating.

Of course, Cancun isn’t usually associated with getting work done — unless that work involves repeatedly lifting rum cocktails.  But this offsite is reportedly focused on assembling content groups from various global offices.  Beyond that, we’re not sure of the exact business purpose.

One Spotify executive referred to this as a ‘Spotify Music Conference’.  Another source noted that the ‘entire content org’ at Spotify is attending the getaway.  Sounds like a lot of people.

There seems to be a strong Latin emphasis among the performers (more on that below), which makes sense given the location.  But at this stage, this looks like a broader global content and curator meet-up.

According to one source, the action is happening at the Ritz Carlton Cancun, which is surrounded on all sides by white-sand beaches and light blue waters.  According to the resort’s website, room prices start at $439 a night for an ‘Ocean View Guest Room,’ and quickly climb to $1,329 a night for the spacious ‘Club Master Suite’.

Two of the artists performing at the Spotify soiree…sorry, I mean working conference… are Nicky Jam and ChocQuibTown.  What’s strange about that is that Spotify can’t seem to find the songwriters for these two artists:

Now Spotify can explain to these artists why their songwriters aren’t getting paid–in this case, the artist/writer themselves.  Good thing we have that Music Modernization Act safe harbor that will put everything right as rain.

You Can’t Find What You Don’t Look For: Google Can’t Find The Beatles

March 18, 2018 1 comment

Beatles

The “address unknown” saga continues–it appears that Google and Amazon can’t find John Lennon and Paul McCartney (pka The Beatles) in the public records of the Copyright Office in order to send their notice for a compulsory license.  Because it’s not enough to have a way to force songwriters to license to them at the government’s cheesy rates.  A quick check of the SX Works NOI Lookup database shows us how bad it really is.

But two of the biggest companies in commercial history shouldn’t feel bad–Spotify can’t find The Beatles, either.  That’s right–the saviours of the music business can’t find one of the biggest bands in history.

Beatles 2

Of course what is interesting about Big Tech’s inability to find Lennon & McCartney in the public records of the Copyright Office is a little inside baseball.  If you are prepared to believe that these companies actually look for the copyright owners of songs they want to claim as “address unknown” (which I am not prepared to believe), Lennon & McCartney’s publisher would have registered the copyright in, say, Penny Lane when it was written or released.  (The Lennon/McCartney publisher is Northern Songs which I believe was administered by EMI at the time.  For those reading along at home, that’s 424 Church Street, Suite 1200, Nashville, TN 37219, at least for the moment.  They’re in the book.)

Penny Lane was released in 1967 as a double A side single (remember those?) with Strawberry Fields Forever.  It was later included on Magical Mystery Tour also in 1967.  That date is significant because it is before January 1, 1978–which is an important date because that is the earliest date that can be searched online in the Copyright Office Public Catalog.

If you agree with me that it doesn’t matter because they’re not looking anyway, then this is not an important fact.  If you are prepared to give these Digital Media Association companies the benefit of the doubt, you would look at their “address unknown” NOI filing and notice that the filers attest that they have looked for the copyright owner in the Copyright Office public records as required in the filing instructions.   (“In the case where the Notice will be filed with the Copyright Office pursuant to paragraph (f)(3) of this section, the Notice shall include an affirmative statement that with respect to the nondramatic musical work named in the Notice of Intention, the registration records or other public records of the Copyright Office have been searched and found not to identify the name and address of the copyright owner of such work.”  This language is fixed in the template for each NOI served on the Copyright Office.)

If they are looking in the pre-1978 records, then how would they accomplish this search? Copyright Office Circular 23 tells us:

Together, the copyright card catalog and the online files of the Copyright Office provide an index to copyright registrations and records in the United States from 1870 to the present. The copyright card catalog contains approximately 45 million cards covering the period 1870 through 1977. Registrations and records for all works dating from January 1, 1978, to the present are searchable in the online catalog, available at http://www.copyright.gov/records….

The copyright card catalog is located in the Copyright Public Records Reading Room (lm-404) on the fourth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress. The public can use the catalog, which is staffed
by a Copyright Office employee, between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, eastern time, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. Before starting your search, consult Circular 22, How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work, available on the Copyright Office website or from the staff member on duty.

Alternatively, Copyright Office staff can search copyright records for you.

So…if these companies really are doing the research they attest to doing, the Copyright Public Records Reading Room must be quite a busy place.  In fact, there must be a line out the door.  Or the research staff must be buried.

Or…these companies are telling what we call in the trade…a lie.

And of course, nobody is checking.

Why does this matter?  Because the Music Modernization Act would have us all rely on the kindness of strangers in doing the intial match for monies heading for the black box. Why in the world would you ever trust these people to do that matching if they really can’t find two of the most successful songwriters in history?  Or if they lie about it?

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