Paper Session 7 (Saturday 10:15-11:15) Salon B
Moderator: Ken Ashdown

Pre-1972 Sound Recordings: Rights and Ownership in Limbo

Don Gorder
Chair, Music Business/Management Department
Berklee College of Music

Sound Recordings were first given federal copyright protection in 1972 through an amendment to the 1909 Copyright Law, and this protection continued under the Copyright Revision Act of 1976. The ’72 amendment applied only to recordings fixed after February 15, 1972. Recordings fixed prior to that date were to remain under state common law or statutes until February 15, 2067, at which time they went into the public domain. A 1995 amendment to the ’76 law gave federal protection for digital performances to federally copyrighted works.

The rapidly expanding market of digital music streaming services has brought renewed attention to the matter of copyright in pre-1972 recordings. Vast catalogues of these recordings are streamed and distributed every second of the day on satellite radio, webcasting, freemium, and subscription services. These services have taken the view that they are not required to pay royalties for these digital performances, because the recordings are not under federal copyright protection. Some have added the argument that the streaming of these recordings falls within the safe harbor protections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. For obvious reasons, the creative community is not accepting these arguments, particularly those recording artists whose careers peaked prior to 1972, and whose recordings are no longer generating much income from sales.

This presentation will examine the history of legal protection of sound recordings, and explore the legal disputes that have been generated in the current state of confusion and uncertainty. Particular attention will be given to possible resolutions, and what might be done to bring clarity to this matter.

Get Classy: Comparing the Massive Marketing of Anchorman 2 to the Non-Marketing of Beyonce's Beyonce Album

David Philp
Assistant Professor of Music Management & Popular Music Studies
William Paterson University

In the fourth quarter of 2013 two entertainment industry blockbusters were released: the film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and a release by recording artist Beyonce Knowles titled Beyonce. While the Anchorman 2 team spent months promoting the December 18th release by traditional (and some very non-traditional) means, the Beyonce album was cloaked in secrecy until it was issued by surprise on December 13th. These two completely different strategies proved successful, as the film sold $122 million in tickets within its first month of release and Beyonce sold 1.4 million albums during this time. This paper describes the marketing tactics used by both camps and the market and critical reactions to those tactics, and shows how sales success is not dependent upon one single strategy but rather a strategy that works best for a particular release at a particular time, both on the calendar and during an artist’s career. Implications for music labels, managers, and artists are also discussed.