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Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association

Volume 7, Number 1 (2007)

Free the Music Now! An Examination of the U.S. Copyright Section 115 Reform Act of 2006

John P. Kellogg
Berklee College of Music


The U.S. Copyright Act’s provisions for licensing music for digital distribution are cumbersome and outdated. Many parties in the music industry are calling for immediate change in the system to provide easier methods for licensing all the rights necessary to provide music online. Two of copyright’s “bundle of rights” are implicated in the exploitation of music in the digital space. The performance right for compositions may be readily obtained through performance right licensing agents ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. However, procuring the reproduction and distribution rights from sound recording copyright owners is both confusing and time consuming, preventing many recordings from be exploited online. This article investigates the inability of Section 115 of the Copyright Act being useful in providing a gateway for legal music to be accessible on the internet and examines Register of Copyrights Mary Beth Peters’ proposal for reforming the Act to better accommodate licensing in the digital age.

Keywords: music industry, copyright, copyright reform act of 2006, section 115, music licensing, digital music, sound recordings, Mary Beth Peters

Kellogg, John P. “Free the Music Now! An Examination of the U.S. Copyright Section 115 Reform Act of 2006.” Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 7, no. 1 (2007): 57-70. https://doi.org/10.25101/7.3

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