Why aren’t artists taking advantage of this?
Four years after copyright reversion for albums released after 1978 became a possibility, only a handful of artists have regained their masters. What’s the holdup?
Todd Rundgren is on a mission rarely accomplished by music stars: he wants the copyrights to his albums back.
So recently, when the 69-year-old rocker got a call from Copyright Termination Experts offering to help him free of charge, he accepted. The outfit showed him how to file notices with the U.S. Copyright office to retrieve ownership of some of the music he released more than three decades ago with Warner Music Group.
Asking a good question:
Why would a label be insisting on keeping a property that has stopped selling, that they don’t have any plans to re-promote except when the artist dies?” asks Rundgren, whose hits include “I Saw The Light” and “Bang on the Drum All Day,” though he is seeking rights to lesser-known solo work and albums he issued with his former band, Utopia.
Rundgren is one of a slew of legendary acts hoping to take advantage of the 1976 Copyright Revision Act, which grants artists the ability to reclaim their rights to recordings made from 1978 onward after 35 years, provided they file the right paperwork ahead of time. Billy Joel, Pat Benatar, Blondie, Devo, the Talking Heads, the Police, Peter Frampton, and Joni Mitchell are among the icons who’ve filed such termination requests for hundreds of works over the last 14 years (acts are eligible to begin filing paperwork 10 years before the reversion period), seeking to reclaim rights on big hit albums as well as records that were considered commercial duds in their day.
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