Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Memphis, Tn - The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles are among the legendary artists who decades ago managed to beat the musical adage, "it's a long way to the top if you want to rock n' roll." But, even though their longevity is well established in millions of records sold, a revised copyright law could give them and thousands of lesser musical acts a new bonanza. A legal right to reclaim personal ownership of their recordings, a provision, initially applying to master recordings dating back 1978, which could spell disaster for terrified major record labels.
"1978 particularly was an important year because the Top 20, either Billboard or Cashbox, was so full of multi, multi million, one would say, platinum selling L.P's," recalled Memphis Business Attorney and CPA Bruce Newman.
The provision, revised in the mid-70s, grants musicians termination rights to allow to them regain control of their work 35 years after their release. But, their applications have to be filed at least two years in advance.
Newman said some artists are already catching on, "Don Henley of the Eagles has been writing about this and blogging about it and a lot of people have caught onto it. He's always been very big for artists' rights."
Just beginning to reel off the names of some of the 1978 record-setting albums is mind-boggling: The BeeGees' Saturday Night Fever, Steely Dan's seminal classic "AJA," and the monstrous selling "Rumors" by Fleetwood Mac. Those records were all products which made record companies massive dollars, only to see over the last decade plummeting sales, the erosion of Internet downloading, all leading to record labels now desperately trying to keep their death grips on the masters for distribution on older music catalogues.
"Right now in downloads, which everybody's excited about, there are just pennies to be made per son. So, there's more opportunity to hear music. But, coming back to the artists or record labels is a lot less money," said Newman.
Record label representatives and their attorneys, none of whom would talk at all about the termination rights, have over the years regarded masters recordings as their property. However, with the batch of 1979 songs eligible under the provision for next year some music observers believe a date in the US Supreme Court is inevitable.
Meanwhile, Newman notes, smaller labels might opt for agreeable terms with artists, "Possibly some of those record deals could be negotiated so maybe the artist will receive more money. So, that the record companies retain the masters. Perhaps artists will be able to buy their masters out, which I try and negotiate in contracts."
At about 11 a.m. Monday, Memphis police found a woman's body at 612 Denmark, the condo Lawrie was renting. Police said there were no obvious signs of foul play, but that the investigation is ongoing.
However, a neighbor who talked to several residents who live near the condo questioned that determination.
"(Neighbors) said Saturday night and Sunday night, it was such screaming," Darlene Barclay said. "There were three or four neighbors that heard screaming come out of that place. They heard that and no one did anything about it."
Source: Commercial Appeal