Questions are still swirling around what royalty rules should be governing music recorded prior to the adoption of federal copyright laws in 1972. One of the recent developments was a win by video hosting service Vimeo in June, where the court ruled that the company could apply safe harbor provisions to those pre-1972 songs. Vimeo argued successfully in its appeal that it should be exempt from copyright infringement if its users upload pre-1972 recordings without the proper licensing.
That appeal ruling is now facing a fresh attack. A2IM, the RIAA, and Concord have filed an amicus brief in support of original plaintiff Capitol Records and requesting that the full New York federal appellate court rehear the case. “This unfortunate decision extends the potential for safe harbor abuse to pre-72 recordings without offering any additional protections to pre-72 copyright owners,” A2IM CEO Richard James Burgess said. “In making this decision, the court effectively endorsed the transfer of even more value from artists and owners of recordings to digital services.”