Author/s: Fiona McGugan
This insight paper by Fiona McGugan considers the evolution of communication rights that overshadow conventional distribution and reproduction rights as music consumption increasingly shifts away from the ownership model of sales, towards access models of streaming services.
Aside from making four key recommendations, this paper presents a detailed study of a little understood right which is pivotal in determining creators’ royalty payments from digital platforms.
It also raises a central question as to whether, technically speaking, rightsholders have actually obtained this right necessary in granting licenses to digital platforms.
Starting life as a major project assessment for the Technology, Rights and the Law module as part of her Entertainment Law LLM course work at the University of Westminster in the academic year 2013/14, it has since been updated to include recent developments in both the music industry and IP law and comes at a time of heightened concern and discussion about the licensing of digital platforms, in particular, music streaming services.
Understanding how this right is applied, territorial variations in the application of rights, and how licensing structures are determined according to the levels of user-interactivity of digital services lie-at the heart of possibly the single biggest issue facing the music industry in recent times – how much artists and performers get paid.
As such it perfectly builds on Just A Click Away: How Copyright Law Is Failing Musicians – a short free paper intended to demonstrate the legal mechanisms that occur behind each consumer ‘click’ on streaming platforms and how the payment structure to labels, publishers and artists can change with each one. Both of these papers have been published concurrently, on this website.
These papers (above) complement the MMF’s recent publication of its extensive Dissecting The Digital Dollar report, which for the first time, lays out the fractured landscape of digital music licensing.