Rick is an experienced Nashville intellectual-property litigator and an erstwhile part-time professor at Vanderbilt University Law School whose writing and teaching focuses on copyright issues but whose law practice involves a wide variety of IP-related disputes.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due (or Demanded)
Last week, the Associated Press reported, âMore and more, artists are giving creditâ to the writers of pre-existing songs âin the wake of the âBlurred Linesâ case.â The main point of the article was that songwriters are taking a more cautious approach when they know they have at least been influenced by a particular song and have been giving credit to the writers of the older songs to play it safe. As evidence, the article cited the addition of the Gap Bandâs âOops Upside Your Headâ to âUptown Funk,â the addition of the massively awesome Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne to the credits for Sam Smithâs âStay With Meââcompletely justified, in my viewâand the addition the two songwriting dudes from The Fray to the credits for The Chainsmokersâ âCloserâ (a song I have never listened to until just now).
Thatâs hardly overwhelming evidence, particularly since at least two of the additions were really settlements of legal claims before litigation. I donât know how the Chainsmokers dispute was resolved, but I doubt it was purely voluntary.
Songwriting credit is a big deal because itâs how songwriters get paid. Royalties for a song are divided among…Read More»