Tagged: Restoring Fogerty's Copyrights
July 25, 2013 at 6:18 am #1272
From the Library of Congress newsletter:
Musical Artists Reclaiming Valuable Copyrights
By Wendi A. Maloney
Carole King, recipient of the Library’s 2013 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, filed a notice with the Copyright Office in January to reclaim her song rights. A host of other big-name musical artists of the 1970s – Charlie Daniels, the Jackson 5, Billy Joel, Carlos Santana and Bruce Springsteen among them – also are terminating transfers of valuable rights they made early in their careers to record labels and music publishers. “It’s not uncommon for artists to give up substantial rights when they’re starting out to secure a contract,” said Zarifa Madyun, head of the Copyright Office’s Recordation Section. “Congress included termination provisions in the copyright law to allow authors to recapture the benefits of their creativity once they become successful.”
The provision being used by 1970s artists permits authors to terminate transfers of rights after 35 years. It took effect Jan. 1, 1978, with the current copyright law, so 2013 is the first year in which artists can reclaim their rights under the provision. Rights transferred might include authority to produce and sell copies of an album, or any of the exclusive rights of authors under copyright law.
Since 1978, record labels have sold millions of copies of Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Joel’s “52nd Street,” the Doobie Brothers’ “Minute by Minute” and other top-selling albums of that year. Authors or their heirs can reclaim their rights any time during a five-year window that opens 35 years from the transfer date.
To do so, they have to inform recipients of transfers and file notices with the Copyright Office at least two years before the effective date of termination. Madyun says incoming notices have been increasing.
In 2012, the office received 351 notices; in just the first six months of 2013, it has processed 250. A notice can include multiple song titles. One listed 200 titles, but most
include one to 10, Madyun said. She examines the notices to make sure they comply with copyright regulations. “There is no template, so each notice is different,” she said. “Some are quite complicated.”
Once a notice is deemed compliant, Recordation Section staff create a public record and issue an official certificate. “It’s interesting to see what rights musicians relinquished to get contracts,” Madyun said. “I don’t mean one-hit wonders, either; these are significant artists and important works.”
About 95 percent of the terminations filed relate to musical works, Madyun said. But termination applies to other copyrighted works as well. Transfers of rights to pre-1978 works can also be terminated, but under different terms and conditions. In April, Dr.
Seuss’s heirs filed a notice to terminate a rights transfer for “How the Grinch Stole
Press reports suggest that record labels may file lawsuits to dispute terminations involving lucrative recordings. Some experts, however, believe labels and artists may simply renegotiate contracts, giving artists a greater share of profits.July 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm #1276
Isn’t copyright law complex? Gosh darn! It’s hard to stay on top of this stuff but I’m sure Fogerty will be keen to obtain legal counsel over this. After all these years, gosh! He’s GOT to get after it!!! Those songs are his babies!!!! Godspeed to John Fogerty in his quest to reclaim what is rightfully his and to all the other artists as well.
Lord only knows the sorrow those hearts held after all these long years.
God bless. X O
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