Culture is future » Financing and economic models


DEBATES 2011 - Intellectual property - Artists take over their rights

New challenge for the music industry: thanks to a clause in their contract, artists can reclaim ownership of their records. 

Indeed, the copyright law was revised in 1976 in the United States, saying that artists can, by appealing “termination rights,” claim ownership of their recordings. Thus they would have the right to take over the control of their works after 35 years of exploitation by their record company, if the request is made two years in advance. Among the artists who can make that request - so artists who recorded dating back to 1978, because the law has come into force on January the 1st of 1978 - Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Tom Waits and Bryan Adams have already filled out applications, according to the U.S. office of copyright.

This initiative could create difficulties for record companies, a part from their sales is made with these records. Universal, EMI, Warner and Sony BMG, the four main majors have already said they will not give up these rights without going into a court. The songs have been recorded under contract, they consider that the musicians were  employees and that the songs do not belong to them. Quoted by the New York Times, the president of the Songwriters Guild of America  believes that “Year after year after year you are going to see more and more songs coming back to songwriters and having more and more influence on the market. We will own that music, and it’s still valuable.”

A protest movement that is observed more and more in the arts, for instance with self publishing. From Rubens, one of the first artists one of the first artists to claim the management of his works, to Jordi Savall, who created his own company in 1998 to produce and edit his recordings, many artists and not just those whose fame enable them this "independence" as JK Rowling or Paolo Coehlo, seem to follow that path. With Alia Vox, Jordi Savall can master its editorial policy, "a long process of research, recreation, experimentation, reflection and interpretation, in which every true artist is involved." Is it an underlying trend? Or a new dialogue between the necessary talent scouts, intermediaries and their ability to finance emerging artists and creators?


Always Further

NY Times 


Credits: Vico Chamla