Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Details of the Music Modernization Act which has been signed into law

iBand on the lakeOn Oct. 11, 2018, the Music Modernization Act was signed into law in the U.S. According to the GRAMMY Advocacy & Public Policy Office, the Act does the following:
For Songwriters
  • Creates a new and transparent collection entity to ensure that songwriters always get paid for mechanical licenses when digital services use their work
  • Lets ASCAP and BMI secure fair rates for their songwriters
  • Establishes fair compensation for songwriters when the government sets rates
For Artists
  • Closes the "pre-1972 loophole" so that digital services will pay legacy artists the compensation they deserve
  • Establishes fair compensation for artists when the government sets rates
For Studio Professionals
  • Gives copyright protection to producers and engineers for the first time in history
For Fans
  • Provides fans with more access to music across digital music services due to better music data sharing
However, as Ed Christma notes, there is work to be done - and done quickly - in order to implement the act.   This includes the creation  of a music licensing collective, with a board of directors. Christma writes that:
The collective will need a board of directors comprising 10 publishers; four songwriters who own their own publishing; and three nonvoting advisers, including one who will represent the digital services.
Also a "global database to collect song information and match compositions to recordings" needs to be built.  That in itself is now small feat.  Near the end of his article, Christma says:
The collective must begin operations by Jan. 1, 2021, at which time the statutory blanket licenses take effect. It took 20 years to get to this point; now the industry has 26 months for step two. 
So much to do and do quickly indeed.

The U.S Copyright Office

The U.S. Copyright Office has played a role in developing this legislation and the law does modify Title 17.  In its overview of the law, the Office states:
Title II—Classics Protection and Access, among other things, brings pre-1972 sound recordings partially into the federal copyright system by extending remedies for copyright infringement to owners of sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972. The federal remedies for unauthorized use of pre-1972 sound recordings shall be available for 95 years after first publication of the recording, ending on December 31 of that year, subject to certain additional periods. These periods provide varying additional protection for pre-1972 sound recordings, based on when the sound recording was first published:
  • For recordings first published before 1923, the additional time period ends on December 31, 2021.
  • For recordings first published between 1923-1946, the additional time period is 5 years after the general 95-year term.
  • For recordings first published between 1947-1956, the additional time period is 15 years after the general 95-year term.
  • For all remaining recordings first fixed prior to February 15, 1972, the additional transition period shall end on February 15, 2067.
This section applies a statutory licensing regime similar to that which applies to post-1972 sound recordings, e.g., the statutory licenses for noninteractive digital streaming services — such as internet radio, satellite radio, and cable TV music services. It also establishes a process for lawfully engaging in noncommercial uses of pre-1972 sound recordings that are not being commercially exploited. The legislation also applies certain existing title 17 limitations on exclusive rights and limitations on liability to uses of pre-1972 sound recordings, e.g., sections 107 (fair use), 108 (libraries and archives), 109 (first sale), 110 (certain public performances), 112(f) (certain ephemeral copies) and 512 (safe harbor provisions for online service providers).
Note that as of this writing (10/24/2018), the text of the Copyright Law available on the U.S. Copyright Office website had not yet been updated to reflect changes due to the Music Modernization Act and the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act.

Now What?

Music copyright is not my strength and so I'm on the lookout for good articles about what this might mean for libraries.  Does it change what libraries do on a day-to-day basis? Does it change what music libraries have access to?  Does it impact digitization?  Is there a consequence that isn't obvious? I'm seeing nothing that points to the answers of those questions being "yes", but I'm also not seeing anything that says the answer are "no."  At this point, I'm looking forward to the updated book by Dr. Kenneth Crews, which I know he is revising to include changes to copyright law which have occurred this year.

Do keep in mind that some aspects of the law do not go into effect until 2021, so we have time to panic about some of the details!



Monday, October 22, 2018

Webinar Recording Available: Assuring Library Materials Can Be Used by Your Community

PCI Webinars provides continuing education for library organizations of all types and sizes.  In September I was honored to give a webinar for them on "Assuring Library Materials Can Be Used by Your Community."  PCI archives all of their webinars and this one is available for viewing.  This is a useful topic for collection development managers, library directors, and those charged with understanding the needs of their communities.  The webinar can be purchases for online viewing or as a DVD.


Having materials in a library’s collection is good; having those materials in the formats needed by the library’s community is much better. The act of supplying content in the formats that community members require is critically important to meeting their information needs.

This informative webinar will delve into ways of discerning the format needs of a community, including using the census and other data, along with existing reports, to discern the best way of provisioning material for the community.

After this webinar, participants will be able to:
  • Explain the various ways content can be made accessible to members of a library’s community
  • Examine U.S. Census data and draw preliminary conclusions based on that data
  • Select data from other sources which will support an understanding of the community’s accessibility needs

Thursday, October 18, 2018

#JCLC2018, bullet journals, and the speed of life (and work)

JCLC conference logo
It has been over two weeks since I returned from JCLC, and life has moved quickly.  This will be a catch-up blog post, covering a number of topics, and I might ramble a bit.


I had not been to either of the previous JCLC events and so I worried if I would know anyone there.  I should not have feared, because this conference drew people from across the U.S. and from a variety of different library associations. Yes, there were people whom I knew and many new people for me to meet.

Most of the JCLC participants were people of color, which made for different conversations and interactions.  This was a conference where we could talk about topics from our own perspective and make that perceptive the focus of the conversation.   You might not think that would be a huge difference, but it was.  I especially liked that those conversation were active on Twitter and are still continuing today using #JCLC2018.

One of the conversations, which arose quickly after the conference, was the role of allies, who are not people of color.  Yes, there is a role for allies, but it could be that those allies need some training so that their efforts are indeed appropriate.  That training might include more on microaggressions, for example.

JCLC did not have a code of conduct and I think that developing one could help lay expectations for the next conference in 2022.

Bullet Journaling

Because I was working the SU iSchool booth, I didn't get to attend many sessions.  However, one of the sessions I went to was on using the bullet journal method for setting daily to-do's and tracking what you are actually doing.  I went to the session because I'm always interested in productivity tools and I guess many other people are, too, since the session was standing room only!  Bullet journals are very popular and after attending the session, I decided to start one.  Yes, I can see the power of the tool.  No, I didn't buy a "bullet journal", but did purchase an inexpensive journal with blank pages. Yes, I think it is making a difference in my days.

People have asked how this topic related to diversity and the answer is "it doesn't", but clearly it was a worthwhile topic for a JCLC session based on everyone's enthusiasm. And we do need some variety in our conference sessions, right?

Public Libraries in Their Communities

Public libraries position themselves to be the center of their communities and to serve everyone equally.  There is a tension, though, in this.  While everyone needs to feel safe and welcomed in the library, and libraries strive to make that so, does everyone feel safe on the street outside of the library?  Here in Syracuse, our downtown public library has struggled with this at times, due to the homeless in the community who use and congregate near the library, and the increase opioid use on our streets.  The library has worked with others to figure out how to keep the area welcoming and safe for everyone, a task that is not easy.

In Albuquerque, the main public library attracts a wide variety of people, as it should.  It is near an area (part of historic Rt. 66) that contains bars, restaurants, and a truly diverse set of people, including those who seem both homeless and mentally unstable.  Seeing that library's environment reminded me that the struggle for equity and safety, being the heart of the community, being welcoming for everyone, etc. is a tough one.  There are no easy answers. 

Fast Life, Fast Work

Tent Rocks National Monument: Slot CanyonFinally, New Mexico was beautiful!  I took many photos, walked miles in the dessert, and visited historic places which I hope to remember forever.  People talk about the high heat with low humidity, and how different that feels, and now I understand it. 

Both life and work have moved fast since I've been back in Syracuse.  Ideas for blog posts come and then quickly fade as I move onto the next thing on my to-do list.  The bullet journal reminds me that I can't fit everything into one day, which is a lesson I need to learn anew every day.  Yes, there is copyright news that I should blog about, and I hope to do that soon.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Intellectual Property and the new U.S., Mexico and Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA)

The U.S., Mexico and Canada have settled on a trade agreement that is intended to replace the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  While it hasn't made the news, it does contain intellectual property provisions.  The Association of Research Libraries has created a helpful analysis on those provisions and there is also analysis by Michael Geist. The agreement's text is available on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative web site.

Note that this agreement must be voted on in Congress, in order to be ratified, which will occur during its next session (after the November 2018 elections).

For more information, there are many news story on this, including this one from the Brookings Institution.