New issue of Music & Copyright

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

YouTube goes in heavy and files for summary judgement in Schneider copyright infringement case
The class action complaint filed at a California district court by jazz composer Maria Schneider against online video service YouTube and search giant Google is heading for trial with both sides continuing to dispute their opponent’s claims and positions. The case centers on Schneider’s claim that smaller rights holders are denied access to the online video service’s Content ID system of copyright protection. Denying the use of Content ID means smaller rights holders are forced into trawling YouTube for unlicensed use of their content and then sending individual takedown notices to the video service via a web-form, email, or postal mail for each video their searches identify. August saw a flurry of activity with YouTube denied a motion to dismiss the complaint and then a battle to limit the level of data it was required to supply. The online video service also filed a set of responses to a number of Schneider’s accusations and ended the month by filing a motion for summary judgement.

Digital and general performance gains for SIAE, but live receipts remain depressed
Italian authors’ society SIAE has reported a return to growth for total revenue and receipts from rights collections after suffering a big drop in 2020 from the impact of COVID-19 on the performance sector. Music income edged up, while cinema and literary/visual arts receipts also increased year-on-year. Only dramatic works suffered a second straight year of decline. For music specifically, digital, general performance, and mechanicals registered growth. Digital receipts were up for the ninth year in a row, with increased streaming use boosting the total. General performance benefited from the opening up of the country after a number of lockdowns, while mechanicals improved from higher sales of physical formats.

The music business needs to sing from the same hymn sheet as the audience
The music industry can sometimes appear awash with initiatives that seek to increase awareness of climate change issues and persuade participants to sign up to various green pledges. However, as in other industry sectors, many of these activities come across as PR—greenwashing in the modern parlance—rather than as earnest endeavors to effect real change. There are, of course, solid efforts to, for example, reduce the environmental impact of vinyl production, to cut music streaming carbon emissions, and to switch away from virgin cotton for merchandise. But for many actors there’s a sense that there’s nothing much to be done other than to commit to achieving mere CO2 emissions targets. Sustainability initiatives must provide guidance on concrete actions that lead to real change and demonstrate to audiences that music really does mean business on issues relating to climate.

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