Thursday, January 11, 2007

Paging Billy Joel: revoke your copyrights

I've heard it said that the singer Billy Joel never received any payment for some of his earlier albums. If so, then those who hold the "rights" to these titles are sitting on stolen property.

The organization Creative Commmons has put together a "Termination of Transfer" tool for artists to get their rights back.
"Briefly, the U.S. Copyright Act gives creators a mechanism by which they can reclaim rights that they sold or licensed away many years ago. Often artists sign away their rights at the start of their careers when they lack sophisticated negotiating experience, access to good legal advice or any knowledge of the true value of their work so they face an unequal bargaining situation. The “termination of transfer” provisions are intended to give artists a way to rebalance the bargain, giving them a “second bite of the apple.” By allowing artists to reclaim their rights, the U.S. Congress hoped that authors could renegotiate old deals or negotiate new deals on stronger footing (and hopefully with greater remuneration too!!). A longer explanation of the purpose of the “termination of transfer” provisions is set out in this FAQ."

The tool is here.

Apparently, some of Billy Joel's early works happened to have been published just about 35 years ago.

If anyone knows Billy Joel, please give him this link.

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