The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
US Supreme Court rules against Andy Warhol Foundation in Prince silkscreen artwork fair use case
The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of photographer Lynn Goldsmith in a long-running case with the Andy Warhol Foundation (AWF). Visual artist Warhol created a number of silkscreen prints of Prince based on a photograph of the artist taken by Goldsmith. The dispute arose after AWF licensed the use of one of the silkscreen artworks, Orange Prince, to the media company Condé Nast for use on the cover of a tribute magazine edition following Prince’s death. Goldsmith claimed that the silkscreen image was a copy of her Prince photograph and accused the AWF of copyright infringement. AWF argued that the use of the photograph for the silkscreen images was covered by the fair use provision in the US Copyright Law. The case was first heard at a federal level, with the court siding with AWF. However, that decision was overturned in favor of Goldsmith on appeal. To the joy of many in the music industry, the Supreme Court has now decided that the use of a photograph of the Warhol silkscreen on the magazine cover was not transformative enough to qualify for fair use protection.
Return of festivals and concerts boost SABAM collections to 10-year high
Belgian authors’ society SABAM has reported a second consecutive year of growth for collections after income suffered a dip in 2020 from COVID-19 restrictions and sector closures. Live was the star performer, with receipts rising threefold and exceeding prepandemic levels. A sharp rise in background music revenue saw the collection source take the leading position for SABAM ahead of the prior year’s top income source broadcasting. Despite the popularity of music streaming in Belgium, digital income remains a modest revenue source for local authors and publishers. However, collections were up for the sixth year in a row. It is worth noting that income from Anglo-American repertoire is not administered by the Belgian society, and so is not included in SABAM’s online total. Mechanicals suffered a fall last year after registering growth in the prior year.
TikTok boosts music capabilities as it faces a US time-out
Since its launch just a few years ago, the short-form video platform TikTok has become a hugely popular global service. It has demonstrated its effectiveness in breaking new artists and songs and in re-popularizing longer-tail music many times over, while also proving itself a powerful marketing tool for headline acts. And TikTok is forging ahead with new and revamped features that are set to further bolster its music prowess. However, the company, the progeny of Chinese firm ByteDance, faces the prospect of widespread prohibition, particularly in the US, and may have to fight long legal (and political) battles to stay alive.
Germany country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Germany music industry report. Retail sales of recorded-music in Germany increased for the fourth year in a row in 2022, after two years of modest decline. Ongoing interest in subscriptions and streaming has continued to offset physical formats and downloads’ steady drop-off. Notable in last year’s sales figures was that access service revenue accounted for close to three-quarters of the combined physical and digital total. Digital generated more than 80% of the retail total. Sales of physical formats were down year-on-year, but the rate of decline was lessened by a rise in sales of vinyl and gains for audiocassettes. International pop was again the most popular genre, with hip-hop/rap second. Both genres saw their share edge down year-on-year, while the third most popular genre, rock, registered a rise and closed the gap on the two leaders. Collections for authors’ society GEMA topped the previous high set in 2017, and distributable revenue set a new record. The results were all the more impressive given that pandemic-related restrictions were only fully lifted in the second quarter. Ticket sales to live music events continue to rebound after the problems caused to the sector by the pandemic.
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