Protecting Your Music: Copyright Sessions at SXSW

Written by Rory Burbeck | January 9, 2014

SXSW 2014 Speaker Christiane Kinney

Late last year, Vice Motherboard reported that peer-to-peer file sharing, or BitTorrent, had dropped below 10% of all internet bandwidth in North America “for the first time ever.” This is clearly significant, and a small victory for music creators, but this doesn’t mean artists should stop worrying about retaining the rights to their music. There is still plenty of cause for concern, so artists attending the SXSW 2014 Music Conference are encouraged to take some time to learn a little bit more about copyright and how to protect their work.

Although some reports are indicating a drop in music piracy, plenty of copyright-related issues still sprung up in 2013. Google received more than 235 million takedown requests last year, easily the most they have ever had in a single year. The National Music Publishers Association issued 50 takedown requests to unlicensed lyric websites in November. The Beastie Boys also had to deal with a company using one of their hit songs, “Girls,” in a promotional video without even attempting to obtain the proper licensing.

2014 could be landmark year for copyright in the United States - many experts agree that the current system laid out by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which was passed by Congress in 1998, is outdated and inefficient. Head of the US Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, sat down with Billboard Biz in December to discuss what this year could mean for copyright law. Pallante indicated that Congress is slowly but surely moving on the issue, saying that there have been six hearings on copyright since March and there are three more announced for the first quarter of this year.

With all of these moving parts, it’s easy to become confused and distressed about copyright. It could become even more aggravating when trying to apply copyright laws to mashups, remixes, or live recordings. The SXSW Music Conference is offering sessions geared towards making more sense of copyright laws and how they apply in the modern music industry. Check for these sessions below and register today!

SXSW 2014 Music Conference Sessions on Copyright

  • Copyright Termination Rules Have to Change (Bartees Cox, Public Knowledge)
  • New Adventures in Copyright Enforcement (Casey Rae, Future of Music Coalition)
  • Remixing, Mash-Ups, and Copyright Law (Christiane Kinney, LeClairRyan)
  • Ethical Access to Live Recordings: Artists & Fans (Paul Conway, University of Michigan School of Information)
  • How Do Independent Content Creators Get Paid? (Cory Llewellyn, Transmission Media)
  • How to Steal Like An Artist (Margot Kaminski, Information Society Project at Yale Law School)
  • New Punk Strategies: Your Values = Your Biz (Rebecca Gates, Parcematone Presents)
  • See Christiane Kinney on the Remixing, Mash-Ups, and Copyright Law Session at SXSW Music! Photo by Michael Caufield.