The first issue of Music & Copyright for 2021 is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Ball starts rolling in the reform of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act
US Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property has published the first discussion draft of legislation aimed at reforming the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). According to the Senator, the Digital Copyright Act of 2021 (DCA) would modernize current US copyright law by amending key provisions for dealing with online copyright piracy, as well as improving the exemptions available to users for circumventing technological protection measures (TPMs). The discussion draft also increases attribution protections so that authors can be properly credited, and makes the Register of Copyrights a Presidential appointee as well as placing the Copyright Office (the Office) under the Department of Commerce.
Revenue growth for SAMRO despite impact of COVID-19 in final quarter
Africa’s largest authors’ society, the South African Music Rights Organization (SAMRO), has reported a positive year for music royalties and distributions for the 12-months ending June. Despite difficult trading conditions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, total music rights receipts topped the ZAR500 million ($30.2 million) mark for the first time, while group revenue exceeded the previous financial year’s record. Distributions also hit new highs, although the total was boosted by backdated payments by the public broadcaster the SABC. Broadcasting receipts also benefitted from resumed SABC payments, while general licensing collections suffered from the impact of government-imposed lockdown measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19. Overseas collections fell in the financial year, although the size of the dip was exaggerated by exchange rate fluctuations and the timing of revenue receipts from foreign societies.
A flurry of deals suggests the time is right to make more of music rights
If anyone still doubted that music catalogs were set to remain a very hot property, the beginning of the New Year should have dispelled any skepticism. A leading producer, a veteran guitarist and even gold-plated Neil Young joined the music-rights sales fray through lucrative deals with an alternative investment fund. There will be further such multi-million-dollar transactions in 2021 as institutional investors seek good returns, but there’s also opportunity for those owning the rights to lower-profile songs that still manage to deliver decent royalty payments year after year. Royalty Exchange is one growing platform that caters to this particular segment of the market, and it offers rights owners the prospect of making the most of their IP assets to fund projects, or to provide financial relief for musicians hard hit by COVID-19.
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