As we saw in parts 1 and 2 of this post, New Boss companies like Google are playing on a loophole in the Copyright Act’s compulsory license for songs to shirk responsibility for song licensing from the songwriters or other copyright owners, get out of paying royalties and stop songwriters from auditing. Not only have Google targeted long tail titles, but also new releases and songs by ex-US songwriters who are protected by international treaties. This is exactly the kind of rent seeking behavior by crony capitalists that gives Big Tech a bad name in the music community.
Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler and music attorney Dina LaPolt have sent a letter to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office opposing the creation of a compulsory license that would allow anyone to legally create remixes and derivative works, without getting songwriter permission.
For example, in 1986 Run-D.M.C recorded a version of Aersmith’s “Walk This Way.” As a cover it could have requested a compulsory mechanical license to create their version. But instead Run DMC involved Tyler and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who authored the song, in the process to create “one of the most famous derivative works of our modern times.”
“A compulsory license for remixes, mash-ups and sampling is a step too far,” they argued in their letter, which was provided to Billboard. “Approval is the most important right that a recording artist or songwriter has and they need to retain the ability to approve how their works are used… The current system does not need reform.”
READ THE FULL STORY AT BILLBOARD: