“One Nation under a Groove” Funkadelic’s funk anthem may soon return to George Clinton. Based on a narrow provision in music contracts many songs from 1978 are poised to revert to the original creator. This not only opens up the possibility of artists controlling the royalties from their work, it also opens the possibility for them to share their work. Some of the issues confronted by musicians are canvassed in Copyright Criminals, a film that anyone who cares about copyright (and sampling in particular) should watch. While the termination rights will likely be litigated by record companies trying to hold onto material, it raises at least the possibility that the means of distribution may soon return to creators to decide how their work can be used and how much it costs. For more on this issue check out the New York Times and the Future of Music Coalition.
August 22, 2011