In order to create a meeting place for the exchange of ideas among publishers, where they can learn about mutual experiences in the industry and keep abreast of changes in law and commerce affecting the music publisher, NMPA established the Music Publishers' Forums which meet several times a year in New York, Nashville, Atlanta and Los Angeles. These have proven to be very popular and stimulating educational symposiums. Recent topics have included writers' block, copyright infringement and an examination of the "Fairness in Music Licensing Bill," H.R. 789, and music on the Internet.
NMPA ATTORNEYS ADDRESS INDEPENDENT MUSIC PUBLISHERS
AND NATIONAL MUSIC COUNCIL 2003
NMPA General Counsel Peter L. Felcher, partner in the law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, and NMPA Inside Counsel Charles J. Sanders, shared the podium at the June luncheon meeting of the Association of Independent Music Publishers in New York. The two presented a general update of important issues facing the music publisher and songwriter community in 2003.
Felcher gave a comprehensive overview of litigation developments over the past year, including a review of the victory in Eldred that preserved copyright term extension. He also discussed in detail the efforts undertaken by songwriters, music publishers, and members of the recording and film industries, to curtail massive on-line piracy through lawsuits against peer-to-peer file sharing websites. The disappointing decision of a California federal district court in the Grokster case, currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit, was especially focused upon.
Sanders reviewed legislative initiatives currently pending before Congress, and touched on several international issues, including the filing by Universal Music Group of a complaint with the EC in Brussels alleging unfair practices by the music copyright community in Europe. NMPA is working with BIEM, he assured the audience, to ensure that the best possible defense to this spurious complaint is presented.
After a rousing question and answer session, AIMP President Beebe Bourne, a member of the NMPA Board of Directors, thanked Felcher and Sanders and suggested that future review panels would be planned.
Sanders also addressed the annual meeting of the National Music Counsel in June, focusing primarily on the problem of rampant on-line piracy on American college campuses. "It is very difficult to convince college students that on-line shoplifting of musical works is both wrong and illegal," he lamented, "when professors themselves are in the vanguard of those espousing anarchy on the Internet. I am profoundly disappointed to see supposedly responsible faculty members at the same university at which I serve as an adjunct professor, posing as zealous First Amendment defenders in order to excuse --and in some cases actually to encourage-- the outright electronic theft of music and film by their students. The seemingly growing lack of respect on the college campus for intellectual property rights, often cloaked in demands for 'free speech' that are in reality ingenuous calls for 'free lunch,' is a very disturbing trend that needs to be addressed, and will be along with reasons why the lower court decision should be reversed."
2000 NMPA New York Steering Committee Members: