Under a US copyright law from 1978, artists who sold themselves to the recording companies could reclaim their copyright, and the precious royalties that go with it, in 35 years. All they need to do is file "termination claims" at least two years in advance.The record labels are attempting to fend off the devastation by arguing that the albums were "works for hire," which, under copyright law, would mean that the artists were employees working for the record companies and the companies therefore always owned their work product.... sort of like what The Byrds were singing about in "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n Roll Star":
As the deadline approaches the ageing stars of rock'n'roll are reaching for their lawyers. Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, Tom Waits and Kris Kristofferson are already reported to have filed claims with the US Copyright Office. Other music legends seem ready to join battle.
So you want to be a rock and roll starHa. That was back in 1967, when the idea that you were involved in making something plastic was supposed to be horrifying. That's why this was supposed to be so funny:
Then listen now to what I say
Just get an electric guitar
Then take some time and learn how to play...
Then it's time to go downtown
Where the agent man won't let you down
Sell your soul to the company
Who are waiting there to sell plastic ware
That's "The Graduate," which came out in 1967. 1967, that was a hell of a year. A year for shunning plastic. The Summer of Love. I was 16. Where were you?
Now, it's 2011. Do we have any sympathy for the record companies today? Their product isn't even plastic anymore. You know they've lost a lot of money in the switchover to digital. Or do you align with the artists? Are they still artists, these people who sing and play on the recordings?