A member of U.S. Congress has introduced legislation aimed at ensuring that the Copyright Royalty Board also consider fair market value when setting songwriter mechanical royalty rates for digital services. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, carrying the name the Songwriter Equity Act. It's purpose is to update provisions in sections 114 and 115 of the Copyright Act to level the playing field for songwriter, composers and publishers to receive fair compensation for the use of their intellectual property - and move towards parity with payments for the use of sound recording. More on Billboard here.
|one of the offending pendants - with attitude
President Obama has nominated Robert Holleyman as deputy US Trade Representative - Holleyman was previously head of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) - a background which has raised some concerns , not least as the Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty remains under negotiation. The TPP, the ambitious 12-nation free trade plan, recently hit a new roadblock after four days of negotiations in Singapore.
|Cindy Lee Garcia: A still from YouTube before the take down
And finally, the Guardian reports that artist, comedian and writer Miriam Elia is facing the potential of a copyright action from Penguin after she self published here own version of a 'Ladybird' Book - exploring modern art where the traditional characters of Mummy, Peter and Jane grapple with Tracey Emin-style conceptual art. One page, 'God Is Dead', depicts an empty room, in which Mummy introduces the children to a severe form of Nietzschean nihilism, whilst another page pokes fun at the giant inflatable animals that the artist and former Wall Street commodities broker Jeff Koons is famous for. It seems that Penguin haven't been too heavy handed though - and whilst We Go to the Gallery contains collages made from scenes cut from old Ladybird books, it also contains the artist's own work, and the company has told Elia that it would allow her one month to sell enough books to cover her costs, but any more have to be destroyed. Penguin contacted Elia last month to complain: "It was a bit of a shock. I never really thought about copyright," she said. "Artists just respond to the world in your little room and you're not thinking about much else. You just think: 'Oh, this will be great!". She stressed that Penguin has been sympathetic and has been open to negotiation, but ultimately would not back down on what it saw as infringement of its copyright. It's interesting to consider what difference will the new UK planned exception for parody and pastiche will add to this scenario - from this blogger's perspective certainly an arguable defence.