Thursday, September 10, 2015

Can R.E.M. demand Donald Trump “cease and desist” playing their song?;, 9/10/15

Scott Timberg,; Can R.E.M. demand Donald Trump “cease and desist” playing their song? :
"We spoke to intellectual property lawyer Joel Schoenfeld, a former counsel for the Record Industry Association of American and now an attorney at the New York firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp. The interview has been edited slightly for clarity.
This week we have another couple of cases of political figures using rock songs at rallies and the bands objecting. Do the musicians – R.E.M. and Survivor in these cases — have any legal leg to stand on?
Yes. Basically, when an artist records a song, there are usually two copyrights involved. One is the musical composition being performed, which may or may not be written by the people who perform it, and the other is the master recording of that song, usually owned by the artist or the band. Usually, if they’re relatively successful, the artist or band has signed a deal with their record label, who has then the full rights to exercise their copyright in that master recording. Same with a songwriter or composer, who has probably done a deal with a music publisher who also has those rights.
There are [also] artists who alleged public confusion – making the public think that artist is endorsing that politician. I’m not aware of any case that’s come to a judgment, but they’re usually settled and the politician is usually the one that apologizes."

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