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It's Not If Artists Deserve 'Moral Rights' Recognition, But How Music Industry Should Achieve It, says RIAA

(Hypebot) – The U.S. Copyright Office has requested comments on regulating the right to receive full credit for artistic works, often called "moral rights." The U.S. does not guarantee this level of recognition, even though "these rights have a long history in international copyright law," according to the Copyright Office.

The RIAA, which represents the major labels, has filed in opposition to new government regulations that would guarantee musicians and other creators their so-called moral rights. “A new statutory attribution right, in addition to being unnecessary, would likely have significant unintended consequences,” the RIAA wrote in comments to the U.S. Copyright Office.

To further clarify their position, Cara Duckworth Weiblinger, VP, Communications for the RIAA, sent this note:

We want Hypebot readers to fully understand our filing with the U.S. Copyright Office on this issue of “moral rights,” and its rationale.

At the outset, let’s be clear: artists, as well as all those who helped write, record and produce a song or album are the beating heart of our industry and deserve as much credit and recognition as possible for their talent. We said as much in our filing. That’s exactly what the music labels we represent — who invest billions of dollars into discovering, developing, promoting, and marketing artists – work to do every day. As we noted in our filing: “An important goal of a record label is to help each of its artists become a household name and help artists amass the largest possible fan base.” We want artists to be celebrated for their talent, their work, and their drive to create and entertain. It’s the label’s job to make sure that happens.

The question on the table is how that recognition is achieved. We have deep concerns about a mandatory, government-imposed solution. Just think about the modern streaming service for example – the way that most fans now consume music and the reason for the industry’s fragile recovery. How will consumers react if the digital interface is cluttered and confusing, or difficult to navigate? We believe those are vital questions, among others, and that a government mandate is not the best way to address this kind of issue in a dynamic, constantly-evolving marketplace. The better approach is working together on voluntary, collaborative solutions. We’ve already seen technology coming to market to address this problem, such as Jaxsta, an intriguing marketplace development which endeavors to be the IMDB of music with extensive credits for every song or album.

As the Copyright Office considers this issue, we urge it to think about possible unintended consequences. Many of our colleagues in the music community believe that the music marketplace is already over-regulated, and that government-set rates and standards have undermined the value of music. Let’s tread cautiously in advancing any more rules or regulations.

Cara Duckworth Weiblinger
VP, Communications