“You might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear through the search.”
Attorneys for Amazon and Spotify made their cases this week in an appeal to the US Court of Appeals, arguing against the 2018 decision by the Copyright Royalty Board to raise by 44% the royalties paid to songwriters by streaming services. Apple Music, the second largest music streaming service in the world, is absent from the appeal.
According to a company news post by general manager Vanessa Pappas, TikTok will be opening a new Transparency Center within its LA offices, allowing experts to come in and examine its content moderation and data handling practices. “We expect the Transparency Center to operate as a forum where observers will be able to provide meaningful feedback on our practices,” wrote Pappas. The facility will open in May.
US Congress has organized a series of discussions this week about whether it is time for the country to reform and amend its 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act given all the subsequent changes and evolutions that have occurred in the digital domain since then. Topics included the European Copyright Directive, safe harbor, and web-blocking.
In this newsletter:
- Spotify, Amazon to Argue Against Songwriter Rate Hike in Court of Appeals
- TikTok Says New “Transparency Center” Will Invite Outside Experts to Observe Its Content, Data Practices
- Safe Harbor and Web-Blocking Discussed in Latest Congress Session on US Copyright Reform
- Led Zeppelin Wins Latest “Stairway to Heaven” Copyright Fight
- Spotify Unveils New RADAR Global Emerging Artist Program
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - March 13, 2020
Spotify, Amazon to Argue Against Songwriter Rate Hike in Court of Appeals
An appeal by Amazon, Google, Pandora, and Spotify has come before the US Court of Appeals this past Tuesday. The companies seek to overturn the Copyright Royalty Board’s 2018 decision to raise by 44% the royalties paid to songwriters by streaming services. Attorneys for Amazon and Spotify have made their cases this week. Apple Music is absent from the appeal. On Monday, in a statement to Variety, National Music Publishers’ Association president/CEO David Israelite said, “All creators and artists should be watching what happens in this unprecedented appeal”.
TikTok Says New “Transparency Center” Will Invite Outside Experts to Observe Its Content, Data Practices
TikTok is set to open a new Transparency Center within its Los Angeles offices, according to general manager Vanessa Pappas in a company news post. It is expected to allow outside experts to come in and examine its content moderation and data handling practices. She acknowledged that the company’s “policies and practices are not flawless,” and said that experts will initially be able to observe how TikTok’s moderators and technology enforces community guidelines, and how the company handles viewer and creator concerns about the platform. “We expect the Transparency Center to operate as a forum where observers will be able to provide meaningful feedback on our practices,” wrote Pappas. The facility is to open in May, and after focusing on TikTok’s content moderation practices at the outset, the Center will then expand into a second phase honing in on TikTok source code as well as its efforts around data privacy and security.
Safe Harbor and Web-Blocking Discussed in Latest Congress Session on US Copyright Reform
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee On Intellectual Property within US Congress organized a series of discussions this week about whether it is time for the country to reform and amend its 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the last major overall of copyright law in the US, given all the subsequent changes and evolutions that have occurred in the digital domain since then. The main topic for discussion at the session was last year’s European Copyright Directive. Article seventeen was supported by the music industry, which seeks to increase the copyright liabilities of user-upload platforms. Experts were asked to present at the session provided a diversity of opinions.
Led Zeppelin Wins Latest “Stairway to Heaven” Copyright Fight
On Monday, Led Zeppelin won a long-running copyright dispute over whether the UK rock band infringed Spirit’s “Taurus” to create “Stairway to Heaven.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s decision of no copyright infringement after a jury in 2016 handed Led Zeppelin a win. The decision comes after the appellate court voted to re-do the trial only to have larger issues re-examined en banc, meaning before a wider panel of judges. Furthermore, the Ninth Circuit determined it was not in error that the jury didn’t get to hear the “Taurus” sound recording at trial. The appeals court also elected to ditch the “inverse ratio rule,” meaning the higher the degree of access to a work, the lower the bar for proving substantial similarity. Michael Skidmore, the Trustee for Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe, sued the band back in May 2014.
Spotify Unveils New RADAR Global Emerging Artist Program
According to a post published in Spotify’s official newsroom this week, a new global emerging-artist program, “RADAR,” will be launched, “deepening [its] commitment to emerging artists at all stages of their development and strengthening their connection to audiences”. The program will include a mixture of editorial and marketing support. Among the 36 featured global artists is US artist Alaina Castillo, who Spotify will support via a documentary, inclusion on A COLORS SHOW in partnership with COLORSxSTUDIOS, music video support, in addition to the inaugural On Our RADAR playlist cover.
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