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ARTISTS, MANAGERS WANT WORKS FOR HIRE REPEALED
Could It Be That The RIAA Didn’t Act With Artists’ Best Interest In Mind? Has The World Gone Crazy?
A coalition of recording artists and their managers plan to ask lawmakers to repeal a controversial change in the copyright law that designated sound recordings as works for hire.

Recording artists and their managers think the Recording Industry Association of America pulled a fast one last year when the change was slipped into the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act, said The Hollywood Reporter.

Under the copyright law, a "work for hire" is considered the property of the employer and comes in two types. The first is specified by contract or the traditional employer-employee relationship. The second is a work that is "specifically ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work."

While movies have long been considered works for hire, the law and the courts have treated sound recordings more ambiguously. The RIAA contends that, in effect, sound recordings have been treated as works for hire and that specifically adding them into the law is a minor change.

Recording artists argue the provision will prevent them from reclaiming their copyrights to performances recorded after 1978. If not for the provision, artists would be eligible to reclaim their rights in 2013.

Artists from Don Henley to Coolio have lined up to oppose the change. They feel that the change and the manner in which it was carried out, without a hearing or testimony on the subject, was an effort to undo their rights.

Despite the move to repeal the provision, it is unlikely that it will get undone in this Congress. Even Democrats who are sympathetic with artists' arguments think it is a done deal.

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