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Business News (more headlines) 10-15-2000

SENATE APPROVES WORK FOR HIRE REPEAL

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(SANTA MONICA, CA) - A significant victory was won in the battle over artists' rights late last night as the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, the Work for Hire and Copyright Corrections Act of 2000 (H.R. 5107) which removed "sound recordings" from the list of "works made for hire" under the 1976 Copyright Act. The bill will now go to President Clinton's desk for his approval.

H.R. 5107 is the result of months of negotiations between the artistic community and the recording industry. It was the goal of the artists to repeal the amendment which declared sound recordings as works for hire. The work for hire provision was inserted by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) into the Omnibus Budget Bill and passed in November. Until the passage of the provision, the law was open to interpretation by artists who sought to regain control of the work after 35 years. It was contended that the amendment tilted the balance of power in favor of record companies and robbed the artists' of the rightful ownership of their recording masters.

In May, Recording Academy President/CEO Michael Greene testified before the House Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property on behalf of the Recording Academy, whose constituents are artists, producers, songwriters and other members of the music industry.

"We are extremely pleased and grateful that Congress has taken this important stand to protect the copyrights of artists and other creative music professionals," said Greene. "As the practices and dynamics of the music industry evolve in this explosive digital age, the artistic community and those organizations that represent them must be diligent and remain aggressively proactive in protecting and advancing the rights of our constituents."

The repeal of the legislation will once again allow recording artists to claim their master recordings for works created after 1978. If Clinton signs H.R. 5107, artists can begin reclaiming their master recordings in 2013.

Artists' groups that supported the passage of H.R. 5107 include the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI), AmSong, and the Artists Coalition and the Music Managers Forum.

Established in 1957, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., also known as the Recording Academy, is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural conditions for music and its makers. An organization of more than 16,000 musicians, producers and other recording professionals, the Recording Academy is internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards, and is responsible for numerous groundbreaking outreach, professional development, cultural enrichment, education and human services programs.

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