The Curb Center, The Music Industry in Flux: Reconsidering the Performance Right
For much of the twentieth century, this commercial paradigm was reenacted over and over again, and for the most part the various players in the business were reasonably content with their slice of the pie, as determined through copyright law by Congress and the courts. As a result, the American music industry became a thriving, multibillion-dollar business.
After years of relatively peaceful coexistence, the careful balance among the various stakeholders was upset in the 1990s with the large-scale convergence of personal computing, digital music, and the Internet. Recording artists and record companies in particular viewed digital audio transmissions (both legal transmissions and pirated downloads) as free substitutes for traditional record sales—which threatened their livelihood. Songwriters and music publishers, however, were less concerned; they felt reasonably assured that they would be fairly compensated in the new digital environment. Why? The difference in the two reactions goes to the heart of U.S. copyright law and the concept of the performance right.
Read the full article: