UK artists band together over digital rights


Musicians in the United Kingdom are tired of watching business interests scrap over their material, particularly in the new digital arena, while they are left on the sidelines watching. They are now banding together to guarantee they get a piece of the pie they feel they created in the first place. In a release, the Featured Artists’ Coalition lists The Verve, Radiohead, Jools Holland, Kaiser Chiefs, Kate Nash, Robbie Williams and Billy Bragg as headliners among dozens of artists and acts. Radiohead and Kate Nash’s co-manager Brian Message explained, “It is time for artists to have a strong collective voice to stand up for their interests. The digital landscape is changing fast and new deals are being struck all the time, but all too often without reference to the people who actually make the music.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Listening to copyright hearings here in the States, it is easy to get the impression that artist conflict with the various business interests involved in the music industry is an exclusive feature of the American system. It would appear that the problem is somewhat more universal.

FAC’s focus:

1. An agreement by the music industry that artists should receive fair compensation whenever their business partners receive an economic return from the exploitation of the artists’ work.

2. All transfers of copyright should be by license rather than by assignment, and limited to 35 years.

3. The making available right should be monetized on behalf of featured artistes and all other performers.

4. Copyright owners to be obliged to follow a ‘use it or lose it’ approach to the copyrights they control.

5. The rights for performers should be the same as those for authors (songwriters, lyricists and composers).

6. A change to UK copyright law which will end the commercial exploitation of unlicensed music purporting to be used in conjunction with ‘critical reviews’.