Tag Archive | compulsory license

If You’ve Never Received Mechanical Royalties From Google Play Music, This Might Be Why

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Is Google Willfully Refusing To Use Its Own Assets To Identify Copyright Owners?

In recent weeks Google and YouTube has come under fire by high-profile music industry professionals in regards to Lyor Cohen’s statements on the royalties it pays to artists. This piece is NOT about that.

At Royalty Claim, we periodically randomly select and investigate records that our researchers and data scientists ingest. Random investigations — sometimes against pre-determined hypotheses and sometimes just to follow down the rabbit hole — has helped us uncover nuances in the music licensing ecosystem that manifest into trends that suggest major systemic issues.

Earlier this month we reported that Google has filed nearly 7 Million Section 115 NOIs on the US Copyright Office for musical works in which it claims to be unable to identify the copyright owner. Then, Lyor Cohen boasted about YouTube’s royalty payouts and its growing ability to match music to videos (Google it, it’s everywhere). And then we remembered that this is only possible due to YouTube Content ID, which is arguably the largest database of copyright information with music codes, audio samples, etc.

So, if the largest submitter of “copyright owner unknown” NOIs is also the owner of the largest private database of copyright owner information, it makes no sense that Google cannot seem to identify copyright owners to pay mechanical royalties for the use of the copyright owner’s songs on Google Play Music.

So, we investigated this.

Royalty Claim’s Full Presentation At The Music Industry Research Association Conference

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Royalty Claim attended the Music Industry Research Association‘s first inaugural MIRA Conference at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center this week. Royalty Claim’s Founder and Chief Researcher, Dae Bogan, MIA, had the honor of presenting a preview of our in-progress The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States report before an audience of economists, sociologists, and researchers from universities and institutions from around the world, as well as music industry executives representing firms such as Nielsen, Pandora, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Entertainment.

For the first time, updated statistics regarding the filing of “address unknown” Section 115 NOIs on the US Copyright Office during the first half of 2017 was revealed. Insights included an overview of the organizations that have utilized the procedure, including Amazon, Google, Spotify, iHeart Communications, and Microsoft. However, those large music users were expected. Interesting inclusions to the list were The Recording Academy and the Christian music service, TheOverflow and interesting omissions from the list are platforms that boast millions of tracks — Apple and Tidal — but may not be reaching every independent rightsowner that may have compositions available on those platforms.

A slide from the “[Preview] The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States” presentation at MIRA Conference.

A slide from the “[Preview] The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States” presentation at MIRA Conference.

The presentation also discussed the nature and causes of so-called “Black Box royalties”. A black box is an escrow fund in which music royalties are held due to an organization’s inability to attribute the royalties earned to the appropriate payee. Examples were given, including unattributed advances from DSPs to music companies, the US’s limitations on sound recording rights, and other issues.

A slide from the “[Preview] The State of Unclaimed Royalties and Music Licenses in the United States” presentation at MIRA Conference.

 

The presentation concluded with a video demo of the Royalty Claim Platform, which received positive reviews from conference attendees. The full presentation is  here.

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