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Future of Music Coalition - Sampling


Internet Task Force Plots Summer Tour Dates

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:47:09 +0000


Every rising garage rock band or upstart emcee knows that when you’ve got a bunch of untested new material, one of the smartest things you can do is to load up the van and take your new stuff out on the road to see what the audience thinks.

Well, that’s exactly what the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIAare doing. Last year the Internet Task Force at the Dept. of Commerce authored a massive “Green Paper” addressing a wide range of digital copyright issues and asked for public comments. After an initial round of feedback, now they’re taking it on the road, hosting four roundtables around the country for the purpose of soliciting more public feedback to inform the agency’s recommendations. And you’re invited!

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Is De La Soul’s long fight to release its music digitally finally over—or just beginning?

Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:52:31 +0000

On Valentine’s Day, De La Soul released most of their back catalog for free. Fans rejoiced at the unexpected gift, which included the albums 3 Feet High and Rising (1989), De La Soul Is Dead (1991), Buhloone Mind State(1993), and Stakes Is High (1996) and dozens of rare remixes, B-sides, and instrumentals. The move generated huge amounts of buzz and goodwill, judging by the outpouring of affection on Facebook, Twitter, and around the Web. It will help, no doubt, with the tour they just announced, on the eve of their 25th anniversary as a group.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Geeta Dayal

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De La Soul Gives Away Catalog, Highlights Challenges of Sample Licensing

Mon, 17 Feb 2014 20:57:04 +0000

(image) 3-feet.jpg

Music fans were treated to a Valentine’s surprise last week when hip-hop pioneers De La Soul offered up their acclaimed back catalog for free download through their official website. Pretty awesome for fans and newcomers alike. Still, this giveaway comes with a complicated backstory, one marked by deep frustration with the state of sample clearances. In particular, De La Soul are emblematic of challenges facing artists in an environment of corporate mergers and major label ownership.

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Copyright Hearing Recap: Fair Use

Wed, 29 Jan 2014 22:45:59 +0000

(image) fairuse.jpg

On Tuesday January 28, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held another in its series of hearings on current copyright law. This time around, the topic was the fair use doctrine—a set of provisions that allow the unlicensed use of copyrighted material in new works under specific conditions.

Tuesday’s session was somewhat more focused than previous hearings, but was unfortunately cut short due to a scheduled floor vote. Although it didn’t go into as much depth as we’d have liked, the hearing offered valuable perspectives on an often contentious subject.

Witnesses on the panel included law professors Peter Jazsi and June Besek, author Naomi Novik representing the Organization for Transformative Works, songwriter and musician David Lowery of Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven and Kurt Wimmer of the Newspaper Association of America.

As we mentioned, fair use is a unique legal exception allowing artists and others to make use of copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the author or rightsholder. But fair use doesn’t mean you can just use whatever you want whenever you please—there are four specific factors that courts weigh to make determinations about the “fairness” of a use. (Check ‘em out here.)

Fair use has produced a lot of debate, from 2 Live Crew’s “Oh Pretty Woman” parody to controversies over mass digitization to the recent Beastie Boys vs Goldieblox dispute. As ranking member Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) noted, the flexibility of fair use is a strength. A weakness is that that it doesn’t always provide perfect clarity. This might be why fair use tends to be poorly understood by the general population.

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House Copyright Review Timeline

Mon, 13 Jan 2014 22:25:16 +0000

Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, The Internet, & Intellectual Property
Sunday, July 20, 2014

FMC has been closely monitoring the Subcommittee’s ongoing review of the Copyright Act, with special attention to musicians’ needs and perspectives.  Here’s a chronology of events so far, with links to our coverage and commentary, along with video of the archived hearings.

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Keeping it Real for Musicians in the World of Policy

Fri, 15 Nov 2013 16:50:41 +0000


Here at FMC, we regularly engage in a kind of protracted dialog with government through public comments and other filings that can extend over years (actually, thirteen and counting!). While we don’t claim to have all the answers, we do believe that our history of direct engagement with musicians, composers, independent labels, publishers, PROs, unions and others is useful for policymakers to consider as they grapple with the many questions facing creators in the digital age.

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2013, FMC filed comments with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding their recent “green paper”—itself a product of the Internet Policy Task Force comprised of USPTO, the Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Way back in 2010, we filed comments in the original proceeding that resulted in this year’s report, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy [PDF].

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FMC Filing in USPTO Internet Policy Task Force "Green Paper"

Thu, 14 Nov 2013 03:24:24 +0000

Comments address issues related to copyright, creativity and the internet
November 13, 2013

Future of Music Coalition filed the following comments with the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) in an inquiry related to a previously published “green paper” from the Internet Policy Taks Force (a joint effort also including the United States Copyright Office and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration).



November 13, 2013


Docket Number: 130927852-3852-01

I.               Introduction

II.             Government Role in Improving the Online Licensing Environment

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Media Files:

Internet Task Force to Seek Public Comment

Wed, 04 Sep 2013 18:18:55 +0000


by Michelle Davis, FMC legal intern

Having had time to digest a 100+ page report on digital copyright policy,  we can report back that this “green paper” covers a range of issues around copyright and technology with an understanding of the complexities for creators. The report is a product of the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) with input from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). We wouldn’t say that the green paper is a good beach read — and not just because it’s after Labor Day — but it does lay out very clearly the challenges and opportunities of the digital marketplace.

Of course, we’re mostly concerned about how these issues impact musicians and composers. This is why we’re also delighted to announce that one of the contributors to this report, Shira Perlmutter, Chief Policy Officer and Director of International Affairs at USPTO, is going to give a keynote at the Future of Music Summit (Oct. 28-29, Georgetown University, Washington, DC). Don’t miss the chance to hear from the horse’s mouth about how executive branch agencies are dealing with the issues that impact YOUR livelihood — registration is open now (with a limited number of musician scholarships available)! 

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Kickoff "Copyright Review" Hearing in House of Representatives

Wed, 08 May 2013 16:37:06 +0000


On Thursday, May 16 at 2PM EST, the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet will kickoff its review of current copyright law at a hearing called “A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project.” You can watch it live right here.

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Beastie Boys' sampling in 'Paul's Boutique' again in spotlight

Fri, 11 May 2012 16:01:58 +0000

[…] The suit doesn’t surprise Kembrew McLeod, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa, and co-author, with economist and researcher Peter DiCola, of the book “Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling.” “‘Paul’s Boutique’ and other albums of that era are like ticking legal time bombs,” says McLeod, who also co-produced the acclaimed documentary “Copyright Criminals.” “For instance, in 2005, Run DMC was sued by the Knack for using ‘My Sharona’ for its song ‘It’s Tricky.’ And they were sued 20 years after the fact.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Randall Roberts

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