Print 43 comment(s) - last by Master Kenobi.. on Oct 12 at 7:02 PM

The former frontman for the UK band Orange Juice was recently denied the right to post his own song on Myspace due to copyright confusion. Turns out a major label claimed to own it, essentially stealing it. His wife and manager says labels steal more music than filesharers.  (Source: The Portastylistic)
Artist's woes illustrate the problems with copyright in the U.S. and abroad

Illogical suits and copyright enforcement are nothing new in the music industry.  Rock musician John Fogerty was once forced to show a court that his song "The Old Man Down The Road" did not share the same chorus as "Run Through The Jungle" -- a song that he also wrote, when he played with the band Creedence Clearwater Revival.  With the modern era of music permeating the internet, though, such bizarre illustrations of a flawed system have taken on a whole new dimension.

One such illustration recently occurred when UK indie rocker Edwyn Collins was barred on MySpace from streaming his own 1994 hit -- "A Girl Like You" -- due to copyright restrictions, despite the fact that he owned the copyright (Collins wrote this song as the frontman for the defunct band Orange Juice).  Grace Maxwell, Collin's wife and manager, first ran into the bizarre scenario when she tried to post the song to his MySpace page in an effort to promote his work.

She writes in a blog post,"MySpace are not equipped to deal with the notion that anyone other than a major [label] can claim a copyright.  [After trying to upload the song] lo and behold, it would not upload. I was told Edwyn was attempting to breach a copyright and he was sent to the Orwellian MySpace copyright re-education page. Quite chilling, actually."

She adds, "[My husband] owns the copyright.  as he does for most of the music he's recorded in his life (preferring to go it alone than have his music trapped 'in perpetuity' to use the contract language of the major record company)."

Getting to the root of the issue, apparently Warner Music had illegitimately claimed the copyright.  They promised to fix it, but then never did anything. States Maxwell, "I naturally blew my stack and wrote to MySpace on his behalf demanding to know who the hell was claiming copyright of Edwyn's track? ... Eventually, after HUGE difficulty, I was told Warner Music Group were claiming it. I found a nice lawyer guy at Warners, very apologetic, promised to get it sorted, but all these months later it isn't."

She says that over the years her husband's music has been continually ripped off, both my major labels and smaller companies which are legally obligated to pay licensing fees, but "forget" to.  And she says he's not alone.  She states, "[We are] aware of who the biggest bootleggers are.  It's not the filesharers. [A Girl Like You is sold] not by Edwyn, [but] by all sorts of respectable major labels whose licence to sell it ran out years ago and who do not account to him."

She says many smaller independent labels are often just as bad.  The main problem, she says, is that Collins has tried to offer some of his music free to fans, and music labels would rather exploit it for profit, despite the fact that what they're doing is illegal.

She concludes that cheap or free music subscription services are the industry's greatest hope.  Apparently plugging such services as Zune Pass or SpiralFrog, she states, "Now let's get on with working out a wonderful new way for music lovers to enjoy music for free or for a small subscription that makes it legal and easy to hear ANYTHING and allows the artist to reap the rewards of such freedom of access."

That hope, of course, relies on the assumption that the services get who owns the copyright correctly verified in the first place.  One can only hope that these services are better than MySpace at that.

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RE: So now what?
By xsilver on 10/9/2009 1:09:54 PM , Rating: 2
I dont understand why even now record companies are still fueling so much debate - its so 2008.

IMO no new band in their right mind would sign stupid contracts that relinquish all their rights anymore. A lot of bands instead are going a garage thing and posting their own stuff on myspace etc and offering free downloads to attract an audience.

The audience then pays for live gigs and band merchandise which ends up being better than the $1/cd that a record deal would have gotten them.
the RIAA is a dinosaur, its death is inevitable, why get so riled up about that?

RE: So now what?
By MadMan007 on 10/9/2009 1:42:15 PM , Rating: 2
Lables do serve one purpose other than distribution and that is promotion. I'll be the first to say that there's lots of crap being promoted out there but the internet is too vast and varied to be a promotion tool. I don't do social networking so a band that expects MySpace or something similar to be their promotion tool will not reach me by that method.

RE: So now what?
By xsilver on 10/9/2009 3:39:16 PM , Rating: 3
the fact that you think that this method of distribution isnt working on you now is no reason to go back to the RIAA method. With kids these days, it spreads via word of mouth, someone likes band X, they put it on their myspace page, all their friends get to hear it, X% are then followers and 6 degrees ensues.

Even if you're not on myspace etc, when band X gets a large enough audience, they go mainstream and get free publicity on mainstream media. Thats when you will hear them, At no point is the RIAA needed. A larger % of profits will go to the actual artist and they own all their rights, the new system devalues the actual music in exchange for performances.

Losers in this system will be wannabe britney spears artists that used to rely on residuals because they wont be able to get their stuff off the ground because they cant sing. Good thing? You bet. (someone like britney now can make huge money off live shows but its more of an extravaganza than a concert, starting out you wont be able to afford that. Can you imagine a britney type in a 200 seat club? lol)

RE: So now what?
By MrPoletski on 10/12/2009 7:06:49 AM , Rating: 2
The fact that whenever you visited somebodies myspace page meant you had to listen to whatever song they put on there (which would restart every tie you reload, i.e. check out one of their pictures then hit your back button) was the single most annoying thing about myspace.

I hated it so much that not long before I left myspace for good I set my song to the downtrodden song by denis leary.

Every time you opened my page it was instantly EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE YEAH HOO REALLY REALLY TERRIBLE.....

RE: So now what?
By Uncle on 10/9/2009 2:53:06 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly why they want perpetual never ending copyright on older music. Most music they produce sucks and we won't remember the artist in a few years, but the classics will keep selling.They know the writing is on the wall for them.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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