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Record Industry To Start Losing Rights To Songs From 1978

This one needs a little background: Back in the mid-70s, copyright law in the U.S. was reformed to allow musicians, like creators of every other kind of art, to gain sole right to their music after a period of 35 years. This would essentially cut the labels out of getting royalties of songs they had owned for years. 

However, the law didn't start applying to songs until 1978, meaning that in two years, provided artists apply for it, artists like Bruce Springsteen, the Eagles, and Kenny Rogers ("The Gambler"), will be able to get back the rights to huge songs. 

According to this story in the NY Times, labels are gearing up to fight against a wave of artists, claiming that in a wide majority of cases, musicians are "artists for hire," and labels actually own the copyrights, meaning they don't have to pay the artists after 35 years. This thing could be a another huge monetary loss for the labels. Read more here. 

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I would think and hope that if an artist recorded a song that they themselves wrote (or their band), that the labels wouldn't have a hope in hell of retaining a right to it. Now, if the label provided the song (wrote it themselves) and hired an artist to just sing the song for them, then perhaps the label may have a chance of winning. BUT, trying to maintain ownership of a song written by someone, no way.

Jim Norcal

The music industry can go suck on my ding dong. I don't buy music anymore or download either. I just support live acts. Up yours Music Execs!


Does this pertain to Master rights or Publishing rights or both. Either way if the Artists take ownership, who its gonna make sure the artist gets paid? The artist is probably not equipped to do so. And rarely is it just one person who owns the rights so its gonna be a nightmare in distributing royalty payments to all parties.


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