Music Publishers, Artists, Labels To Testify Before Congress

By | May 15, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Record labels argued successfully that Napster infringed their copyrights but now find themselves on the other side of a copyright claim as songwriters and music publishers allege that at least one label has violated their copyrights.

Record company executives, music publishers, and lawyers for both sides will appear before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property to testify about copyright infringement claimed by the publishers against record labels. The RIAA argued successfully that Napster infringed their copyrights but now finds itself on the other side of a copyright claim as songwriters and music publishers allege that Universal Music has violated their copyrights.

The licensing conflict centers on streaming music, which enables users to listen but not copy songs online. Publishers recently filed a lawsuit against Universal alleging that Universal violated their copyrights by not paying them for the right to use their songs on its FarmClub.com online subscription service. Publishers claim that streaming music requires reproduction of a composition, which carries a larger royalty payment than a performance. The labels argue that streaming music should be treated as performances.

Lyle Lovett, Edgar Bronfman, executive vice chairman of Universal, as well as officials from RealNetworks, MP3.com, and the National Music Publishers’ Association are scheduled to speak at the hearing, slated for May 17.

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