Prince – Negotiating Rates For His Music
For some time Prince’s legally team has worked to pull his music off YouTube and the song “Breakfast Can Wait” remains the only track on his channel.
Sources say Prince is using Web Sheriff to send notices to digital services. According to sources, the notice from Web Sheriff says that Prince has pulled his music from all U.S. PROs, so there are no reciprocal rights abroad. He wants all digital service to pull down his music, as recorded by him, so that once they have complied, they can negotiate with his owned publish company.
Once they agree to whatever rate he is seeking, digital services can then put his music back up. The takedown notice doesn’t impact those songs of his covered by other artists. Services are still allowed to play songs like Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which Prince wrote and she covered.
Free Market Vs. First Ammendment Copyright Law
There was agreement on how to make licensing a free market negotiation. David Israelite, President and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, prefers that Congress abolish the compulsory license so publishers could freely negotiate with licensees for mechanical rights. Lee Thomas Miller, songwriter and President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, called for Congress to eliminate or “drastically alter” the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. Michael O’Neill, CEO of BMI, called for the elimination of the consent decrees. “We’re trying to give the songwriters and publishers the power to make their own deals.”
CRB Rate Setting Methods
Under current U.S. copyright law, whether and how much these copyright holders get paid by broadcasters for the use of their intellectual property depends on a dizzying mix of factors. For musical composition copyrights, the royalty system is generally reasonable and technology-neutral, with broadcasters typically paying in the range of 2 percent to 5 percent of their gross revenue to the holders of music composition copyrights.
However, for sound recording copyrights, the royalty rates vary dramatically depending on who is playing the tunes. For digital music broadcasts, the three judges on the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) determine “statutory” royalty rates using two different standards: one called 801(b) that applies to older services like Sirius XM satellite radio, and one called “willing buyer/willing seller,” which is used for the newer field of Internet radio.