Duran Duran to renew legal battle over US song rights

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https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/feb/03/duran-duran-to-renew-legal-battle-us-song-rights

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: The Guardian

    Date: February 3 2017

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  • GOLDMAN SACHS: UNIVERSAL IS WORTH $23.5BN – AND STREAMING REVENUES WILL JUMP 500%+ BY 2030

    Read more:
    https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/goldman-sachs-universal-is-worth-23-5bn-and-streaming-revenues-will-jump-500-by-2030/

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Music Business Worldwide

    Date: AUGUST 29, 2017

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  • How Screenwriters and Directors actually Get Paid

    How Screenwriters and Directors actually Get Paid

    The importance of fair remuneration for our culture and economies

    When one thinks about writers and directors, one instinctively pictures the handful of superstar movie moguls that in our minds, define the profession. The reality however is that the overwhelming majority of audiovisual creators are relatively unknown, self-employed individuals that face a huge challenge in their profession.

    They are not wealthy, do not benefit from sick pay, pension or regular wages, and are engaged in a full-time career where a huge proportion of their work is unpaid. Each project can take years to come to the stage or screen, and there are absolutely no guarantees that it will not stall on the way. Usually, the only way that they can remain in the industry is to try to earn a livelihood from their royalties from previous projects and use them to navigate the cycles of paid and unpaid work.

    Unfortunately, because of the way that screenwriters and directors actually get paid, the option to earn an equitable living from the success of their back catalogue is more often than not, denied them.

    “We are fortunate and grateful to be able to do a job we love but that doesn’t mean we should be denied the opportunity to share in the success of our work.”

    ­– Yves Nilly, French screenwriter and President of Writers & Directors Worldwide.

    The Remuneration Process

    The principle for fairly remunerating audio-visual authors is well established in international copyright protection instruments such as the Berne Convention, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the 2012 Beijing Treaty. In practice however, it’s far more likely that authors will be forced to accept whatever contract is offered. And in most cases, this will be a crude lump sum payment rather than any kind of equitable share in the ongoing success of the work.

    The 2015 economic study into screenwriters and directors’ remuneration in Europe, conducted by SAA [insert link on FR site to SAA] revealed that in 2013 writers and directors received only 0.37% of the revenues within the EU’s successful audiovisual market – a market valued at €122 billion.

    The reason that authors can’t negotiate harder is that without an unassignable, unwaivable right to remuneration set into law, they have a vastly weaker negotiating position against the powerful, well-funded producers and distributors. For authors who don’t earn a living from their back catalogue and who are about to begin the long, unpredictable process of bringing new work to the stage or screen, holding out for a better deal is simply not an option.

    Walking through the individual steps of this process, one can understand just how challenging it is for audiovisual creators and why so many of them do not survive the journey.

    The development of an original film project for example, begins with the creative stage for the author. This comprises all of the brainstorming, storyboarding and development necessary to produce a single concept for a project. These ideas are continually reworked until very occasionally, they lead to the writing of a screenplay or the composition of a team of authors. This process alone can take several years to complete.

    The finished screenplay is then used to locate an appropriate producer. This essential step generates the funding to advance the project but if it’s unsuccessful, the author must start again at the very beginning.

    The next stage requires the producer to acquire the rights from the author to use the work. Because independent authors negotiate this acquisition from such a point of weakness, the majority of them receive their first and only payment at this stage. This inequity is exacerbated by having the negotiation take place prior to the start of production and long before anybody could accurately estimate the value of any future success. There is therefore no way to ensure that this initial payment is fair for either party.

    The following stage of the process is occupied with pre-production as the team begins refining the work. Potential sources of further funding are investigated while the producer evaluates the commercial potential of the project, estimating budget and return on investment. This can take up to six months.

    Production and post-production can then consume another year with shooting days for the cast and crew, editing, music selection, special effects, subtitles and so on. With this completed, the process moves into a lengthy period of sales and marketing as the producer looks to sells the rights to distributors who will use the film in different markets. Promotion begins and the authors are asked to support the launch at film festivals, on TV shows and in media interviews.

    Finally, after years of work, the film is released and (one hopes) widely distributed via theatres, DVD, video-on-demand or TV transmission. This last stage lasts for the entire life of the work. The producer receives a portion of each resale payment and other partners receive a return on their investment in relation to the success of the film. The majority of writers and directors however, those whose work is the very core of the entire project, receive no share in this success.

    Why Does This Matter?

    There are a number of issues with the way this process fails the screenwriter and director. However positive the intent, a lump sum payment made way before the project is even produced, is never going to fair to either party. If a film fails, the producer has to bear the cost of this lump sum and if it succeeds, the people who created the initial work are unlikely to have been equitably remunerated. Even worse is that because the journey from idea to finished production is so long and uncertain, the inevitable wait for the next sporadic payment is usually the catalyst that forces such creators to leave the industry altogether. Consider also the issue facing young writers and directors or those from less-developed areas of the world. They are denied an opportunity to build a career based upon the success of their work.

    The net outcome of a lack of fair remuneration is that everybody loses. Screenwriters and directors cannot afford to create. Producers and distributors become starved of exciting new work. The public misses out on the wealth of diverse culture from an industry that can no longer provide it. And the entire world is deprived of the economic powerhouse that creative industries represent.

    To put that last point into context, a 2015 study by EY1 found that the film, television, book and performing arts industries contributed €775 billion to the world’s economy and supported more than 13 million jobs. This is a contribution that any government should fight to protect.

    How Do We Solve This?

    Despite the complexity of this issue, the solution is deceptively simple. A small change in the law for screenwriters and directors can ensure fair pay and restore equality. Imposing an unassignable, unwaivable right to remuneration from exploitation of the audio visual work across all media would bring their rights level with other players by guaranteeing them a fair share in the future success of their works.

    In this law, creators would be listed as authors and would receive remuneration proportional to amount of revenue generated by each use of their work. This right would be unwaivable and unassignable so it could not be ignored or transferred to a third party following an inequitable negotiation. Finally, the remuneration would be paid for by the end users (such as the TV channels or digital platforms) to the organisations mandated by authors to collect and distribute it.

     

    “Right now, Latin America seems to be leading the way in establishing a remuneration right for audiovisual authors. We believe they’re setting an example for the world to follow.”

    – Horacio Maldonado, Argentinean film director and Vice-President of Writers & Directors Worldwide.

    This is not a new solution. An audiovisual remuneration right for some, if not all kinds of exploitation, is already operating successfully in almost 20 countries and has quantifiably stimulated the domestic production of new work. This number is growing all the time with both Chile and Colombia signing it into law in the last 12 months and China well on the way to adding it. Countries all over the world are beginning to realise the tangible cultural and economic value that protecting their creators can deliver. Proposals for such a remuneration right are currently (2017) under consideration by the European Parliament but success is not assured.

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Writers & Directors Worldwide

    Date: September 13, 2017

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  • Hear Harry

    A strong statement from Harry Shearer about Fairness Rocks.

     

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Fairness Rocks

    Date: October 16, 2016

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  • Appeals Court Won’t Kill Lawsuit Claiming Universal Stole ‘The Purge’

    The 9th Circuit rules that Douglas Jordan-Benel isn’t challenging the activity of filmmaking, he merely wants to be paid.

    On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in on the annual 12-hour period where all crime is legal. Well, sort of. What a three judge panel at the appellate circuit has decided is that Universal City Studios must continue to face claims of stealing Douglas Jordan-Benel’s ideas for the box-office horror smash The Purge.

    Read more:
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/universal-loses-appellate-bid-kill-lawsuit-claiming-purge-was-stolen-1015139

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

    Date: June 20, 2017

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  • The Turtles

    In a big victory for SiriusXM and a major setback for owners of older sound recordings, a lower court’s decision is reversed.

    In a decision that could save satellite radio giant SiriusXM at least $5 million and represent a huge relief to terrestrial radio operators and others who broadcast older music, a New York appeals court on Tuesday concluded that New York’s common law doesn’t protect the public performance of pre-1972 sound recordings and therefore broadcasters don’t have to pay.

    More stories:
    Original Story (DECEMBER 20, 2016): /new-york-appeals-court-rules-no-public-performance-rights-in-pre-1972-sound-recordings/

    Original Story (MARCH 15, 2017): /performance-rights-in-pre-1972-sound-recordings-kicked-to-california-supreme-court/

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

    Date: 2016 - 2017

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  • New York Appeals Court Rules No Public Performance Rights in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

    Read more:
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/new-york-appeals-court-reverses-big-decision-pre-1972-sound-recordings-957856

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    SOURCE: THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

    Date: DECEMBER 20, 2016

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  • Performance Rights in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings Kicked to California Supreme Court

    Read more:
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/performance-rights-pre-1972-sound-recordings-kicked-california-supreme-court-986446

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

    Date: MARCH 15, 2017

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  • Clint Eastwood, Warner Bros. Face Copyright Lawsuit Over ‘Jersey Boys’ Adaptation

    An author’s widow files a new complaint in a dispute stretching back a decade.

    It took nearly 10 years for a federal judge to look at Jersey Boys, the Broadway story of the 1960s pop group The Four Seasons, and declare the theatrical production to be a fair use of an unpublished biography. Now comes a new lawsuit involving the same plaintiff over Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation.

    Read more:
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/clint-eastwood-warner-bros-face-copyright-lawsuit-jersey-boys-adaptation-1018490

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

    Date: JULY 03, 2017

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  • Supreme Court Asked to Save Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First?” Copyright

    >Heirs to the comedic duo present a “critically important” question about a “new rule” robbing contributors to old movies of ownership rights.

    After being sworn in, Neil Gorsuch is now the ninth justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, but at an upcoming conference to decide which cases should be heard, a question will undoubtedly be raised: “Who’s on first?”

    Read more:
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/supreme-court-asked-save-abbott-costello-whos-first-copyright-995770

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

    Date: APRIL 20, 2017

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  • Fair Trade Music

    Fair Trade Music (FTM)  http://www.musiccreatorsna.org/

     

    FTM operates under the three watchwords of Ethical, Transparent and Sustainable, which are criteria based upon the findings of the 2014 “Study Concerning Fair Compensation for Music Creators in the Digital Age” commissioned by Music Creators North America (MCNA) and the International Council of Creators of Music (CIAM). The Study made three key findings:

    • Music is undervalued by digital platforms
    • The split of revenues is imbalanced, based in favour of large right owners at the expense of creators and other contributors to the music industry value chain
    • The lack of transparency is licensing deals between right owners and digital platforms leaves creators in the dark about the true situation

    Fair Trade Music offers businesses in the music industry an opportunity to operate under Certification of Compliance based upon 7 key established criteria. FTM has the support of more than half a million music creators worldwide and has the tools to enable certificated businesses to celebrate FAIRNESS.

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: Fair Trade Music

    Date: 7 Sept 2017

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  • Music Creators North America (MCNA)

    Music Creators North America  http://www.musiccreatorsna.org/

     

    Launched in 2012, it was largely in response to legislative and legal setbacks for creators when it became clear that new approaches were needed, that individual and national solutions were no longer enough in an increasingly globalized environment for creators. Its charter states that its central purposes of MCNA shall be to serve as an independent and non-­conflicted advocate and educator on behalf of the music creator community of North America, seeking the protection, enforcement and expansion of the rights and interests of music creators throughout the world. It stands by a number of core principles:

    • Fair Trade Music principles
    • Cultural enrichment, free expression and music education
    • Effective civil and criminal enforcement of laws protecting copyright
    • To defend the rights of creators to control their property, understanding the necessary balance of those rights with bona fide public interest principles.

    Through its membership of CIAM the MCNA works with sister alliances in Europe, Latin and South America, Asia and Africa to further the interests of music creators throughout the world

     

    Fortunately, in some countries there is legal right that makes revenue payable to the talent after a work has been written or created.  This rebalances the financial position to a limited extent by ensuring that, via a separate route, some revenue at least reaches the talent that made the creative work possible in the first place.

     

    As a matter of practicality, this licence revenue is collected by a single body in each country from the film owners and all the users of the copyright works The usage information is then analysed and paid onward to the talent by these companies.  The companies are known as collective management organizations (CMOs). Writers and directors are members of the audio-visual CMOs in Europe which hold data about the works their members have created.  CMOs for film and television work across the EU on behalf of the writers and directors of film and television, administering their revenues and ensuring their rights are respected.  The individual CMOs fight together for the common interests of their members.

     

    SAA is the EU body that represents these EU CMOs working on behalf of the writers and directors of audio-visual works.  SAA has 31 member CMOs in 23 European countries.  Together with other parties, they fight to improve the economic and moral (reputational) position of writers and directors of audio visual works.  SAA and its members take positions upon broadcast regulation, intellectual property rights enforcement, cross-border portability of creative works, media convergence and other issues that affect the interests of writers and directors.

     

    SAA supports a right of the talent to share in the fruits of a film’s success. SAA supports the levy that means the talent can benefit when private copies are made of their work.  They are lobbying in response to the digital copyright draft directive, seeking a legally enforceable, unwaivable right to remuneration for writers and directors from the exploitation of audio visual works. This is a fight for a more realistic share of revenues from the digital exploitation of audio-visual works as currently a vastly disproportionate share of the value is retained by the large digital companies.

  • Fairness Rocks news

    SOURCE: MCNA

    Date: 7 Sept 2017

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