Music Managers’ Six-Point Plan

The U.K.’s Music Managers Forum has launched a six-point plan aimed at changing the law to give acts tighter control of their careers.

“We believe that all music artistes should control their destiny because ultimately it is their art and endeavours that create the pleasure and emotion enjoyed by so many,” the MMF said in a September 9 bulletin announcing the initiative.

It’s setting up a “Featured Artistes’ Coalition (FAC),” which artists can join and unite to form what looks to be their own trade organisation.

It wasn’t possible to get a quote from the MMF at press time, but the organization says it intends to campaign for laws, regulations, business practices and policies that protect artistes’ rights.

The MMF says the FAC will try to achieve this by changing the artistes’ approach to agreements, changing the music and technology companies’ treatment of artistes and changing the law and the way it’s administrated.

“Together, we will stand up for all artistes by engaging with government, music and technology companies, and collection societies, arguing for fair play and, where necessary, exposing unfair practices,” the statement explains.

As the laws and regulations governing intellectual property and its administration evolve with the digital age and radically alter the economic relationship between artistes and consumers, and the business world that operates between the two, the MMF claims the coalition will provide artistes with a collective voice as well as guidance and advice on their rights.

The organisation’s six-point plan includes getting the music industry to agree that artistes should receive fair compensation whenever their business partners receive an economic return from the exploitation of their work; ensuring all transfers of copyright are by license rather than by assignment and making record companies pay artists for making their material available. Artists have previously been obliged to assign this right in recording and other agreement.

The MMF also says there should be a legal limit on how long copyright can be assigned or licensed, which should be the 35 years allowed in the U.S.

Copyright owners should be obliged to follow a “use it or lose it” approach to the copyrights they control, the MMF says, and rights for performers should be the same as those for authors, including songwriters, lyricists and composers.

The reason authors’ rights are so much stronger is purely historical, the MMF says, as they developed more than 100 years before performers’ rights.