It looks like the “Stairway To Heaven” case going to die?
For those that don’t know, Michael Skidmore (from here on in, known as “The Trustee”), is the trustee for the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, which has the rights to the songs written by Randy Wolfe and his time in the rock band Spirit. The song in question here is “Taurus” and the similar feel and structure that both songs have.
My view on this is easy, a dead artist cannot hold a copyright and the law which changed copyright terms to last the life of the artist plus 70 years after death is a stupid one.
Because this is the rubbish you get. But Jimmy Page didn’t win because of the silliness of dead people holding copyrights.
Jimmy Page won because the sheet music is different. But “The Trustee” believes that the court should have been able to hear the sound recordings. But that rule allowing sound recordings came into place in the mid 70’s and the songs in dispute here are under old laws.
Anyway, the case got booted.
But for how long will “artists of the now” be taken to court over copying claims from the trustees or heirs of dead artists. Institutions cannot charge fees to the dead, so how can the dead claim a copyright and be paid for it and whoever passed a rule to allow copyright to be transferred to others has committed a wrong to the public domain.
Did you see that Universal Music Group announced a $1.2B Hotel, Performance Venue and Casino in Mississippi? It’s also going to do a similar venture in Atlanta and Orlando.
You see, this is what happens when artists give away all of their rights to the labels. It gave the labels power. They used that power to lock up culture for the life of the artist plus 70 years after the death.
But David Crosby still tells everyone streaming is the enemy. Gene Simmons as well. The enemy to an artist is ignorance and a fixed mindset. There is a lot of money in recorded music. As long as you hold the copyright to the recorded music.
Otherwise why would companies spend a lot of money buying the copyrights to popular songs. The return on these songs because of streaming payments is always going up, while stocks on Wall Street go down.
And look no further than Frontiers Records from Italy. They are releasing a lot of product compared to other labels because their President knows that music scales and will keep paying forever.
And the Labels, they are pieces of work. It’s a power play. You know how artists are trying to reclaim their copyrights back from the labels after 35 years, which is legislated in Copyright Law, but the labels are fighting hard to keep the rights. So while those court cases are ongoing, the labels are now counter suing the artists for selling their own albums on their websites or for using the album art on their websites.
So the artist make the labels rich and somehow the artists are the problem.
And Copyright keeps getting very ugly because artists sue each other.
You see an idea is an idea. I could have an idea for a song here in Australia, and there is a very high probability that other people would have a similar idea, somewhere else in the world. And when one song becomes a hit, then expect a writ, because even though ideas are not copyrightable, there is also someone who believes they are.
And there is always a but when it comes to Copyright.
If there isn’t a court case for similar ideas, then there are cases over licensing, samples and whatever else lawyers can fit into the grey world which is Copyright.
Not sure if you have seen the stories about Tracy Chapman suing Nicki Minaj over a sample from Chapman’s song “Baby Can I Hold You” which appears on an unreleased track from Minaj called “Sorry”.
The song “Sorry” was pulled from the album’s release because the label couldn’t get clearance to use the sample. Minaj even begged Chapman over Twitter to approve it, but Chapman is anti-samples.
And even though the song was pulled, it still didn’t stop the song from getting played on radio stations and once the song was aired, the fans quickly ripped it from the broadcast and sent it out onto the worldwide web.
Hence the court case. Chapman wants payments and Minaj says there are none.
And the arguments have all gone off track and no one really knows what the hell they are arguing and counter arguing over. Anyway, Minaj won the case.
And labels just keep doing wrong on behalf of the artists. Here you have a label called Trax Records who specialise in dance and house recordings being accused of fraudently filing sound recordings to the U.S Copyright Office of other artists and claiming the recordings as their own.
Sony Music is also doing everything it can to keep as much money from old artists in the Sony bank account. Sony paid $12.7 million to settle a case and is allowed to deny any wrongdoing. It’s amazing what $12 million buys. The fact that these old songs are still under copyright, long after the artist has passed away is an issue for me.
I guess Copyright just lives on and on and on and the courts are kept busy with cases and the labels keep ripping creators off, while they invest in start-ups, make billions and then build casinos.
All in the name of Copyright.
3 thoughts on “Theater Of Copyright”
Roth sang it best back in 78…
“Look at all these little kids
Taking care of the music biz
Don’t their business take good care of me”
DLR was a smart person. I remember reading an interview from Nikki Sixx saying the DLR schooled him on copyright
Schooled Sixx in between going through piles of blow I’m sure! lol