As a follow-on to the post on the recent decision against Katy Perry concerning copyright infringement, here are two additional articles that provide food for thought.
Does the Music Business Have a Copyright Trolling Problem?
Full article at https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2019/07/30/music-copyright-troll-katy-perry/
What exactly constitutes copyright infringement of a musical work these days? You’ll have to ask a jury.
In other words: nobody can safely answer the question of what constitutes musical copyright infringement unless the infringement is absolutely clear-cut and blatant. Otherwise, it’s fair game, with anything even remotely resembling something else vulnerable to litigatory attack.
But what’s the difference between ‘blatantly infringing’ and ‘possibly infringing’?
Unfortunately, neither the music industry, U.S. Copyright Law, nor the court systems have an answer to that question. Which means anything is fair game for infringement, with everything incentivizing trolls to pursue multi-million dollar lawsuits.
And in the absence of a clear-cut standard of exactly what constitutes infringement of a musical work, cases like “Dark Horse” won’t be the exception in the coming years.
They’ll be the rule.
Kraftwerk Wins Its 20-Year Copyright Infringement Battle — Over a 2-Second Sample
Full article at https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2019/07/30/kraftwerk-copyright-lawsuit/
Kraftwerk, the legendary electronic-pop band based out of Germany, has just won a 20-year-long lawsuit over the unauthorized use of a two-second sample of one of their songs.
The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled, in short, that unauthorized sampling constitutes copyright infringement if the sampled sound is recognizable. In this instance, the sampled sound, though very short, was recognizable.
The condensed explanation of these implications is that while the unauthorized use of two-second portions of songs can be classified as copyright infringement (or a lesser charge pertaining to the utilization of another’s intellectual property), sampling that includes ample changes does not qualify as unauthorized use or copyright infringement.
It’s probable that the near future will bring with it additional rulings based upon this precedent, and there’s no telling how artists, sound mixers, editors, and other music professionals will change their work habits as a result.
The EU courts indicate a 2-second sample is enough to infringe copyright. The US courts have said small riffs, basic building blocks of music and unintentional copying can result in huge monetary outcomes.
One thing is for sure, the current state of copyright in the US and around the world is in a huge mess, and it doesn't look like it is going to get any better any time soon.