Music Biz Ent. and Tech Law Conference Return to NYC

MBA.stack.final.bothfixThe Music Business Association’s (Music Biz) Entertainment and Technology Law Conference series will be back in New York City on Sept. 29 from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the offices of Greenberg Traurig in the Metlife Building.

The latest installment will bring attendees together with legal experts and representatives from major organizations such as BMI, SESAC, Pandora, NYU Steinhardt School, Berklee College of Music and Union Square Ventures to learn about and debate hot-button issues such as copyrights for pre-1972 recordings, music business transparency and the blockchain, consent decrees and collective licensing and the impact of algorithms and new technology on the music industry.

“Whether you practice law, work in the music industry, are launching or maintaining a startup or are attending college, it is important to be aware of and understand the legal underpinnings that support the music business,” said James Donio, President of Music Biz. “For those in the legal field, this event will allow you to brush up on some of the biggest issues of the day, while entrepreneurs, students, and industry execs can gain valuable knowledge of what they can and cannot do as they move their companies and careers in music forward.”

Registration is available now, with a special $49 rate for students. Those who sign up before Sept. 11 will also receive an early-bird rate of $129 for Music Biz members and $179 for non-members, a savings of $50 from the full price. In addition, Music Biz has applied for credits through the NY State CLE Board.

The full currently confirmed list of sessions and speakers can be found below.

Protection of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
The copyright protection of pre-1972 sound recordings is a large pending legal issue facing the music industry. This panel will discuss the state of the pending litigation affecting this issue, the various state law protections which may be available, the business ramifications of protecting these works and the legislative environment for protections at the federal level.

•  Moderator: Michael Poster, Partner, Vandenberg & Feliu LLP
•  Gary R. Greenstein, Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

The Industry’s Transparency Problem and How the Blockchain Can Help Fix It
Subscription music services are adding users faster than ever, although reports continue to indicate dissatisfaction with royalty payments and the lack of transparency in the flow of money to creators. There is accelerating talk about the role that the Blockchain can play in enabling real-time transactions based on rules embedded into a distributed registry. Can a decentralized registry solve some of the problems, and how might it be built? What role would ‘smart contracts’ and the Blockchain play? And who are the winners and losers if this new technology takes hold?

•  Moderator: Deborah Newman, Founder, MusicStrat
•  George Howard, Co-Founder, Music Audience Exchange & Associate Professor of Management, Berklee College of Music
•  Andy Weissman, Partner, Union Square Ventures

Performing Rights, Consent Decrees and Collective Licensing
Starting in 2011, some music publishers decided to remove from ASCAP’s and BMI’s mandate the right to license public performance rights in certain digital media transmissions in order to negotiate licenses exclusively and directly with these new digital music users. Subsequently, the ASCAP and BMI Rate Courts issued rulings that effectively nullified the publishers’ withdrawals. Subsequent to these decisions, the Department of Justice commenced an investigation, including taking comments from interested parties, regarding whether the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees should be reformed to permit the withdrawal by publishers of digital rights, to eliminate the rate courts, and perhaps in other ways. The investigation appears to be drawing to a close. Meanwhile, some publishers have suggested that if partial withdrawals are not permitted, they might need to withdraw from ASCAP and BMI altogether in order to realize the true value of their performing rights in the digital music space. Join in on this panel that will discuss the current state of play and possible future with regard to licensing performance rights to digital and satellite music services, ASCAP and BMI, the consent decrees and the rate courts.

•  Moderator: Frank P. Scibilia, Partner, Pryor Cashman LLP
•  Dennis Lord, Exec VP, SESAC
•  Elizabeth Moody, VP, Global Content Licensing, Pandora
•  Stuart Rosen, Sr. VP & General Counsel, BMI

Tech It to the Limit: Will Algorithms and New Tech Save or Kill the Music Business and Creativity?
Will new technologies salvage or savage profit and creativity in the music world? This panel of visionaries in the crossroads of music and technology will take a long look ahead with an eye in the rear view mirror. They’ll look at the latest streaming algorithms and music-bots, as well as a growing movement back toward vinyl and vintage recording gear. They’ll consider whether Marshall McLuhan’s observation 50 years ago that “the medium is the message” is still spot on, or whether Bill Gates’ view that “content is king” is more applicable today, and they’ll discuss whether and how all this new tech may make more money for artists, labels, venues and music investors.

•  Moderator: William Hochberg, Attorney, Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP
•  Lee Knife, Executive Director, Digital Media Association (DiMA)
•  Larry Miller, Musonomics & Director, Music Business Program, NYU Steinhardt School
•  John Simson, Executive-in-Residence, Kogod School of Business, American University & former Executive Director, SoundExchange

For more information or to register for the conference, visit musicbiz.org/events/entertainment-technology-law-conference-new-york-city.