Weekly Copyright Update

August 28, 2015

Just How Much Does Music Impact Our Society?

BY BELINDA HUANG: As musicians, we are carriers of influence, whether or not we are aware of it and whether or not we intend to be. The sound and messages we release through our art form directly impact our listeners in powerful ways. This is especially true of the youth and adolescents of our society, who are still extremely malleable to the world around them. I remember sitting in the car with my two little cousins, ages five and eight, when “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk came on the radio. They both started singing every word at the top of their lungs. And when Katy Perry sang during the Super Bowl halftime show, the kids at the party sang nearly every lyric verbatim, putting me to shame because I didn’t know all the lyrics, and I’m aspiring to be a pop artist. It began to shock me just how acutely youth are being impacted by the music they listened to, and how much attention they’re paying to the music being played around them.


Photographer Loses Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Mapmaker That Used His Photo With His Explicit Permission

Editor’s Note: Copyright owners have a responsibility to be aware of copyright licensing practices and the terms of agreements that they sign. I have heard tales of woe from many songwriters who felt they were treated unfairly, but, in fact, they had not taken the time to read and understand the agreements that they signed. If you do not feel equipped to understand the legal terms of licensing, it’s a good idea to hire a consultant or attorney who can help you. The story of one photographer’s lost lawsuit provides a great example.

By TIM CUSHING: A far-too-common story of alleged copyright infringement by a corporation comes to an unexpected resolution. Photographer Art Dragulis took a photo of a rather rustic Maryland scene and uploaded it to Flickr. Roughly four years later, he discovered Kappa Map Group was using his photo for the cover of its Montgomery County atlas, unbeknownst to him, and as such, also unrecompensed.

Lawsuit-filing ensued. Dragulis claimed Kappa Map Group had no right to use his photo commercially. Seems an almost open-and-shut case, what with any number of entities deciding“anything showing up in a Google image search” = “royalty-free stock photography.” And in most cases, this would have been rather straightforward if the photographer himself hadn’t undermined his infringement claims years before he ever raised them.


Austin Music Census Reveals Some Alarming Trends for Musicians

BY DAN SOLOMON: Being an Austin musician carries cachet well outside of the city’s borders. In years past, kids with a guitar and a dream have come to the capital from all over—from West Texas, or the Valley, or Fayetteville, Arkansas. Maybe they saw the abundant venues and enthusiastic audiences during a spring-break trip to SXSW and wanted that to be their life. Or perhaps a musically inclined buddy beckoned them to the big city. But the reality of the much romanticized lifestyle—and whether its economically feasible for most folks—has been difficult to assess since there’s so little hard data. – See more at:


Research Shows Indie Fans Are Most Open Minded About Different Music

BY ADAM CARTER: Indie music fans are most open minded to listening to different types of music, while pop fans are much less likely to branch out in their listening habits, according to new research out of McMaster University’s Digital Music Lab. Researchers in the lab – which is spearheaded by professor Matthew Woolhouse –have spent months poring over data from more than a billion song downloads since it opened in 2013. Now, the university is starting to release their findings, which delve deep into the way we consume music.


Great Ideas on How to Make Your Song Lyrics Shine

BY: MYLÈNE BESANÇON: The human voice is one of the most powerful instruments in music. Lyrics are a critical piece of songwriting, and the process of writing these lyrics can be one of the most difficult tasks that any songwriter will encounter. Like any o

ther art form, songwriting is a powerful way to communicate with an audience and evoke emotion or convey a message. However, only some songwriters manage to accomplish this task. So how do you make your lyrics shine?

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