What? I Just Read An Article That Defended The Rights of Cover Video Artists Over Intellectual Property Owners

Yes, that’s right.

And here it is if you want to read it:http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/10/11/facebook-cover-video/

Here’s a little taste if you don’t read the full article:

“But this has nothing to do with getting songwriters paid. This has everything to do with major publishers and labels shortsightedness and complete inability to navigate the new music business.

I continue to be surprised by how stupid the major publishers and labels can be. You’d think they’d learn from all of their mistakes dealing with the new technologies. But no, they continue to employ failed strategies that only hold progress back and do absolutely nothing to benefit the artists and songwriters they claim to represent.

For fuck’s sake guys, emerging artists’ cover videos will ONLY HELP your songs.”

Here’s my response:

I see both sides of this argument really well. In my opinion, there’s a layer to this that nobody talks about and that’s the fact that an artist/songwriter MAY NOT WANT OTHER ARTISTS to be covering their songs out there in the world, especially if the cover artists are using it as a tool to gain recognition for themselves, and not the original artist and/or songwriter, which let’s be honest, is the reason people do it. Sure, it’s flattering to some I’m sure. But, where does the creator’s wishes come into play in this digital world? Maybe the cover video is of bad quality and reflects poorly on the original song, what then? And did the cover video artist ever buy the actual song from the original artist/songwriter? (Like you mention that others will that see the cover video) And lastly, IF THE COVER ARTIST WAS USING THEIR OWN ORIGINAL CONTENT, this wouldn’t be an issue.

In this instance, it seems as though Universal is enforcing its Intellectual Property Rights, while they still have them. And even if it is a legal strategy, I think it’s appropriate to make known that you need to think twice and do the right thing before just doing a cover video of someone else’s work and throwing it up on a digital platform to gain recognition for yourself.

And really, what “progress” are you referring to? It doesn’t seem that there’s “progress” if all new artists can think of to do for recognition is recording cover videos of songs of other artists (who have put in the time and effort in their career) and posting them on a digital platform.

So, no, that doesn’t seem like real “progress” to me. If new artists were posting original content, none of this would be an issue, except for the fact that the rates are low to begin with, and that songwriters need to be compensated in a timely and right-for-value fashion.

Lastly, I’m a little sad that arguing about the rights of and doing a story on cover video artists is even a discussion. Why is there even an entitlement attitude to cover songs on video and put them up on YouTube? Sure I know it’s technically legal in the right performance situations… but, why isn’t it more about striving to be your own voice as an artist and contribute something NEW to the music economy?

I hope that’s food for thought for some folks out there. Look, I’m not saying it’s wrong to learn cover tunes or even get some mileage out of coming up with your own version of someone’s song. But in my opinion this shouldn’t be a primary vehicle for someone who says they want to be a songwriter or artist to be using as their model for success in the music business. Why not write your own material and get really good at that? Isn’t that what inspired you in the first place?

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