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The Village People

A couple of interesting posts on the 1709 copyright blog, which – for my trainspotting sins and fascination with all things music copyright – I follow.

First up, from a couple of weeks back, was this US decision on the United States copyright law provisions that potentially allow all artists to reclaim (with restrictions) all copyright assigned to a publisher or a label after 35 years. The first of these come up next year, and the ramifications for the majors are massive.

In the first defining strike, Victor Willis, the lead singer of The Village People, has reclaimed his share of all those songs we all kinda liked but refused to admit to (unless we were drunk).

Chief Judge Barry T. Moskowitz in the Federal District Court in Los Angeles rejected the song publishers’ claim that Mr. Willis was not eligible to reclaim his share of ownership of “YMCA” whose lyrics he wrote, and 32 other songs recorded by the Village People saying “The purpose of the Act was to safeguard authors against unremunerative transfers and address the unequal bargaining position of authors.

When placed alongside the raft of digital suites, including Chuck D’s class action, this could turn the major label universe upside down – what is EMI really worth if all those legacy acts can reclaim their rights?

Other acts including Bob Dylan, Tim Waits, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers, The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty are said to be similarly asking for the revision of both song writing and recording copyrights.

1709 noted yesterday that some 285 other acts have now filed for reversion…

Meanwhile, in the land downunder, where copyright was enforced in a bizarrely tragic way of recent that seemed to strike at the very core of the broad intent of the concept, there is a new paper from the Communications Alliance on the prickly subject of public wifi and copyright. I don’t know about you, but I’ve sat in airports around the world and, whilst not downloading copyrighted music or film, taken advantage of the fast and free internet to grab stuff that would’ve pushed my data cap and taken forever when I was still on New Zealand plans.

That said, I know for a fact younger members of my family – who’s name I won’t mention here – have found themselves with movies on their laptop drive which weren’t there before we spent an hour or two in a transit lounge. And enforcement is problematic…

While legal/lawful interception can be done, the associated processes are not standardised in the way they are for tracing (phone) numbers in a licensed carrier network. Practical challenges on a public Wi-Fi network may include:
(a) Dynamic address allocation, which hampers usage tracking i.e. a different IP address is allocated per session, which can make tracking usage by IP address quite difficult(b) The absence of user data on a Public Wi-Fi network i.e. there is typically no user data retained on public Wi-Fi networks, unlike in licensed carrier networks.(c) Permitting anonymous, temporary use, which can be difficult to trace after the event.

This one will run and run…. 1

Show 1 footnote

  1. And in the interest of disclosure – the above VP shot is all over the net, including Last.fm, and is clearly based on a publicity shot – if I’ve somehow infringed someone’s copyright, please let me know..

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