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Spotify’s mechanical rights problem to be explained at upcoming CMU Insights masterclass

By | Published on Monday 4 January 2016


The mechanical rights squabble that has kicked off big time in the US over the Christmas break will be amongst the copyright developments to be fully explained at the next CMU Insights Masterclass – ‘Key Developments In Music Rights’ – on 10 Feb.

Spotify is now facing legal action over the way it licenses the mechanical rights of the songs it streams in the US. While everyone agrees that the way mechanical royalties are paid on streams in the US is a mess, opinion is divided over whether or not the fault lies with the digital service providers, the music publishers or outdated copyright rules. It’s likely a combination of all three.

CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke says: “As with most of the disputes around digital rights and royalties, to understand what is going on here you need to understand a little about how copyright works, about the difference between performing and mechanical rights, and how labels, publishers and their collecting societies have chosen to license different kinds of digital services”.

‘Key Developments In Music Rights’ is a new half-day masterclass designed to bring everyone involved in music copyright up to speed on the very latest developments and disputes. Digital licensing will be a key topic for discussion, with Cooke set to explain what Spotify’s mechanical rights dispute is all about, as well as outlining why ‘safe harbours’, ‘making available’ and data are the other big talking points in music rights circles.

The session will also look at the expansion of copyright exceptions in the UK, why 1972 is a key year in US copyright law, and at the key music right cases of the last year, including the ‘Blurred Lines’, ‘Happy Birthday’ and MegaUpload legal battles.

The masterclass is supported by law firm Lewis Silkin which will host the event on Wednesday 10 Feb from 2-5.30pm. Tickets are just £99 and can be bought here.

Meanwhile, anyone looking for a beginner’s guide to music rights can book into three upcoming CMU Insights evening seminars: ‘How Music Rights Work’ on 25 Jan, ‘How Music Licensing Works’ on 1 Feb and ‘The Music Rights Sector’ on 8 Feb. Places on each seminar are just £49.99.