Technology advancements, particularly the internet, has made it easier than ever for artists of all kinds to reach fans. Sometimes this raises questions about copyright law, as social media and streaming sites become more important to artists' careers, whether beneficial or prohibitive. But there may soon be a new facet that New York artists and the entities that normally work with them will have to contend with. A new music label is in the process of creating and representing "virtual artists," which could pose interesting considerations for copyright protection.
The ins and outs of copyright law are sometimes difficult to understand. In the case of artistic works, it is often left up to attorneys and judges to determine what might constitute a violation of the law. One recent case that went all the way to an appellate court may have set a precedent for future copyright law cases when a judge decided to overturn a jury's verdict. The case was in relation to the musical "Jersey Boys," which ran here in New York for several years, and whether the work infringed on an unpublished autobiography of one of the members of The Four Seasons.
Social media has helped countless artists here in New York and elsewhere promote themselves and their work for very little cost. However, there are still certain legal details that the judicial system is attempting to work through, since this area of the Internet and corresponding case law are very new. One question posed by a recent case is whether companies need to license user-created, public content in order to repost it to their own social media accounts and whether doing so is a violation of copyright law.
Many music artists in the modern era use samples of other artists' songs in their own work. It may be a way to pay homage to that artist or reimagine the piece being used. However, some musicians are opposed to their music being sampled in another artist's song, saying it's a violation of copyright law. This is what singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman alleges in her lawsuit against rapper Nicki Minaj. This case could have far-reaching implications for music artists in New York and across the country.
It is not unusual for political candidates of all kinds to use popular music as a soundtrack for their campaign ads or events. In the past, some politicians have come under fire for using an artist's music without permission. However, many well-known bands and singers recently came together in an attempt to stop this practice altogether, which they say is a violation of copyright law. Artists here in New York may want to take note of this development, which could have a far-reaching impact.
Many artists here in New York and elsewhere assume that copyright protection is only for authors or musicians, but that is untrue. Artists of all mediums may be able to make use of copyright law to protect their creative works. This may even include murals done on the sides of buildings, as one out-of-state artist says. She claims that city officials will be in violation of copyright law by painting over a mural she did almost 30 years ago.
Many people enjoy parody songs, often inspired by hit music, saying that they provide a laugh or even interesting social commentary. Though most parody is protected by fair use, some artists make a point to ask another artist for permission to parody a particular song. Even though that courtesy may not be necessary in a legal sense, some here in New York argue that songs should be protected from parody by copyright law, particularly with the advancement of technology. This is the question before music professionals after a researcher created an artificial intelligence program that can generate parody songs on its own.
Murals on buildings are a popular form of art these days. Some New York artists use them as a means of conveying a social message, while others simply seek to express their creativity. Though the majority of artists want people to enjoy these murals, others have concerns that companies may use them without permission in advertising, potentially profiting off of the artist's work without proper compensation. This is what one artist alleges against carmaker Chevrolet, saying it violated copyright law when it used one of his murals in an ad.
Online streaming has changed the way that creators of all kinds monetize their content. While YouTube has long been the subject of numerous copyright violation claims, other streaming sites are starting to deal with similar problems. The streaming site Twitch, which primarily streams user's video game feeds for fans to watch, recently came under fire for alleged violations of copyright law due to music that often appears in streaming content. The site is now taking action to mute certain archived streams that may contain music for which the streamer holds no copyright.
One of the greatest things about the internet is the ability to bring information to people who otherwise may not be able to access it as easily. A lot of people in New York use online videos to learn new skills. Some of the video creators may receive financial compensation for teaching, either directly from video revenue, or indirectly from increased sales of other things they may produce. However, in the case of YouTube videos that teach people to play instruments like a guitar, some artists feel teachers are profiting off of their songs by using them as teaching tools. Now authorities are attempting to determine if these instructional guitar videos are a violation of copyright law.