What is Rights Management?

A rights manager helps copyright owners maintain control over their work, metadata, licensing, and most notably their royalties. In today’s digital environment, this is an increasingly essential task. The internet is comparable to the “wild west” when it comes to intellectual property management. The sheer volume of content and information being shared between users and across platforms makes it difficult to track the use of music, film, and other assets — not to mention accounting royalties back to a given rights owner.

Users upload over 720,000 hours of content each day on YouTube alone, a seemingly unmanageable figure when scaled across the internet as a whole. The question then becomes how much of that content belongs to you, and are you being properly compensated for its use? More than likely, a rights management professional can help you find out.

If you would like to learn more about our copyright administration services to find you unclaimed royalties, please visit our website.

In this newsletter:

French rights management organizations SCPP, representing over 4,400 music producers and ADAMI, advocating for nearly 100,000 performers have entered a partnership to improve royalty collections and enhance their bargaining power in the music industry.

The Recording Academy has announced partnerships with the Ministries of Culture and key stakeholders in the Middle East and Africa to support music creators globally. Collaborating with cultural and governmental bodies in Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, the UAE, Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast, the Academy aims to expand its international presence.

The National Music Publishers Association has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Spotify over its plan to bundle music and audiobooks, resulting in lower mechanical royalties for songwriters and artists, estimated to cause a $150 million annual loss.

Now, the details...

Exploration Weekly - June 14, 2024
Compiled by Ana Berberana

French Rights Societies SCPP and ADAMI Form Partnership Agreement, With Option to Merge

French rights management organizations SCPP and ADAMI have signed a partnership agreement, aiming to streamline royalty collections and strengthen their collective bargaining power in the music industry. This move signifies a significant shift in the French rights management landscape, potentially paving the way for a full merger between the two organizations. The SCPP (Société Civile des Producteurs Phonographiques) represents over 4,400 French and international music producers, collecting and distributing royalties for sound recordings and music videos, while ADAMI champions the rights of nearly 100,000 performers, offering services like rights management, career support, and financial assistance for projects. “Both companies jointly acknowledged that the situation in France creates inefficiencies that are detrimental to all rights holders and weakens their ability to negotiate their rights,” stated a joint press release issued on May 27. This challenge weakens artists and producers’ negotiating positions in France, where there are seven related collective rights management organizations, compared with other European countries with typically just one organization, SCPP and ADAMI said. While performers and producers may have differing interests at times, they share a common goal of protecting their rights, they said. The new partnership builds on existing collaborations such as SPRE and COPIE FRANCE.

Recording Academy Expands Into Middle East & Africa

The Recording Academy has announced it has reached agreements with the Ministries of Culture and key stakeholders in the Middle East and Africa to extend its efforts to support music creators on a global scale. The Recording Academy is now working with the Ministries of Culture in Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria; the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi for the United Arab Emirates, the Rwanda Development Board, and the Ministry of Sports, Arts, and Culture in South Africa. Additionally, the Recording Academy has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOUs) with Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Through these newly announced agreements, the Academy will collaborate with its partners on a framework to bolster the Academy’s presence and services in these rapidly growing music regions—taking its mission international. The Recording Academy says it aims to champion music creators at all levels, empower creators through enhanced training with its GRAMMY GO online learning platform, produce original content, and enhance support for existing members in these regions. As a cornerstone of this initiative, the Recording Academy will publish a series of reports highlighting the Academy’s research and insights into these music markets. It will also advocate for strong intellectual property legislation and protections for music creators in each of these regions.

Music Publishers File Legal Complaint Against Spotify With Federal Trade Commission

The National Music Publishers Assn. has filed a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Spotify, primarily to oppose its recent plan to bundle music and audiobooks, which will result in a lower mechanical royalty rate for songwriters and artists, estimated to be a $150 million annual loss. Spotify has confirmed that a lower royalty will result, but claims that earnings for creators will continue to rise. “Spotify has deceived consumers by converting millions of its subscribers without their consent from music-only subscriptions into ‘bundled; audiobook-and-music subscriptions, publicly announcing increased prices for those subscriptions, failing to offer an option for subscribers to revert to a music-only subscription, and thwarting attempts to cancel through dark patterns and confusing website interfaces,” the letter reads in part. “This bait-and-switch subscription scheme is ‘saddling shoppers with recurring payments for products and services they did not intend to purchase or did not want to continue to purchase.’ Indeed, it has all the red flags of problematic negative-option practices that the FTC has consistently warned companies about: (1) Spotify has failed to give consumers all material information about its subscription plans up front; (2) Spotify has billed consumers without their informed consent; and (3) Spotify has made it hard for consumers to cancel. “Spotify’s conduct is having profoundly negative effects on other market participants as well,” it continues. “Those participants include music publishers and songwriters, whom Spotify is harming by paying reduced royalties based on an assertion that its subscribers are now paying for content other than music. Spotify is also disadvantaging market competitors who are seeking to compete fairly. If allowed to continue, Spotify’s conduct will cost consumers millions of dollars, undermine the music royalty system, and harm competition. We ask the FTC to investigate and stop Spotify’s misconduct.”

Ministry of Sound label sued over Ride It remix

Independent label 2Point9 Records is suing Sony Music’s Ministry Of Sound Recordings through the UK courts over the 2019 DJ Regard remix of 2008 Jay Sean track ‘Ride It’. The indie released and owns the copyright in the original track. The Sony label, it claims, infringed that copyright by releasing the remix, which “substantially sampled” the original, without getting a license. The dispute goes all the way back to 2019 when the Regard remix first went massive on TikTok. “We have been fighting our corner on this matter for five years now and won’t stop until we get justice”, says 2Point9 Records co-founder Billy Grant. He accuses the major label division of “arrogance and dismissiveness” when dealing with his company, even though the Ministry Of Sound record label began as an indie itself. “Why they think that this kind of behavior against a small label is acceptable is bewildering”, Grant adds. "However, we are determined to make them realize that it is not OK to ride roughshod over the commercial rights of those in the independent sector and that there are consequences for doing so. Commencing legal action is the next step in that process”. Regard first remixed ‘Ride It’ in 2017, but it was in 2019 that it went viral on TikTok. In the wake of that success, Ministry Of Sound signed the producer and then officially released his remix in July that year. The track then became a global hit and has since gone on to achieve over one billion streams on Spotify and more than half a billion YouTube views. 2Point9 Records was made aware of Ministry’s interest in the remix prior to its official release via Jay Sean’s management, the assumption being that a licensing deal would be done to cover the substantial sample in the new version. But that didn't happen. Ultimately, the major opted to re-record the elements of the original track that featured in the remix, rather than get a license to make use of the original. However, it’s claimed that re-record didn’t happen until after the remix’s official release in July 2019. Something the Sony label allegedly admitted.

Random Ramblings

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