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Songwriters Criticize RIAA ‘Moral Rights’ Stance

Fighting for the rights of songwriters

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has come under fire by a group of international trade bodies representing thousands of composers, authors, and songwriters for their refusal to recognize the ‘moral rights’ of creators and musicians. The Music Creators of North America (MCNA), Songwriters Guild of America (SGA), and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors (BASCA) are among some of the organizations who have together composed and signed an open letter protesting the submissions the RIAA has made to the U.S. Copyright Office as a part of its “Study on the Moral Rights of Attribution and Integrity.”

Moral rights are set in place to ensure that the songwriter, visual artist or author receives proper recognition when their work is used. This can come in the form of having their name credit on the form of an album or song, for example. Moral rights have been entwined with international copyright law since 1928. These are intended to exist separately from economic rights.

The U.S. has perpetually adopted a distorted perception of the laws surrounding moral rights, continually refusing to officially recognize them in the same way other countries do. The RIAA argues attribution is already an essential and well established part of the music business.They say that the introduction of a new statutory attribution right, “in addition to being unnecessary, would likely have significant unintended consequences.”

The RIAA made a statement saying,

“We urge the Office to avoid legislative proposals that could hamper this nascent recovery by injecting significant additional risk, uncertainty and complexity into the recorded music business.”

RIAA’s position has been both shocking and angering to the music community causing the open letter, addressed to RIAA CEO Cary Sherman and president Mitch Glazier. It’ll be interesting to see how everything pans out. It doesn’t look like either side will be backing down anytime soon.

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