“We Shall Overcome”….Petty Copyright Laws
Earlier this year the Happy Birthday song was taken to court over copyright law. Now, the same lawyers are back, this time taking on unofficial civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.” Similar to the Happy Birthday case they won in January, the team claims that large parts of the song never should have been copyrighted due to its 19th-century origins (much earlier than its 1960 copyright), but verses that have been added and alternate versions of the song would be eligible for copyright. And who is the plaintiff’s chief client? Filmmakers trying to make a documentary based on the song’s history and cultural influence who currently aren’t be able to include a performance of the song or the song itself.
Oh and speaking of copyright lawsuits, the now-infamous “Stairway to Heaven” lawsuit surrounding Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe is going back to court next month.
Katy Perry V. Nuns
Katy Perry is taking on a couple of nuns to buy a convent in Los Feliz, California. What’s more, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the presiding judge are on Perry’s side. As of yesterday, an L.A. judge ruled in favor of Katy Perry buying the property from the convent in a collective effort between the Archdiocese and the judge to block the nuns from selling the property to celebrity restaurateur Dana Hollister. Though the agreement to sell the Los Feliz convent to Perry for a $14.5 mil seems to be legally binding, the nuns’ lawyer John Scholnick seems to think the battle is far from over.
Digital Music Sales Surpass the Tangible
Well, for the first time, digital music revenues have surpassed revenue from traditional formats. Not only that, but the music industry as a whole has seen revenues grow for the first time in 20 years. The combined channels for digital revenue—streaming subscriptions, downloads, and advertising—made up 45% of the music industry total in 2015, compared to 39% from CDs, vinyl, and other tangible formats. The biggest contributor? The staggering increase of streaming subscriptions. But uh…you keep holding out Taylor Swift.