What is the Difference Between Musicians (Creators) and Rights Holders?

Creator: “A person who makes something new.” (from Merriam-Webster)

Rights Holder: “A rights holder refers to a legal entity or person with exclusive rights to a protected copyright, trademark or patent, and the related rights of producers, performers, producers and broadcasters. A rights holder may license a portion or all of a protected work through international legal and licensing provisions.” (from Technopedia)

Sometimes creators and rights holders are the same person. Usually they are not, especially when the creator has signed with a label. If a rights holder did not either compose, write the lyrics of a song, or record a song, they are likely to be in it for the money, and they may do lots of stuff to keep the musicians from being paid.

Right now the major labels (rights holders) are pulling some very ugly stunts. They are trying to distract from what they are doing by pointing their fingers at file sharers. 300 million people share files on the P2P (peer to peer) networks every month and those people spend 30-35% more on music and films. They are a great audience. But the rights holders call them “pirates”- actually the RIAA calls them “worse than pirates” ignoring the fact that real pirates kill people.

There are a number of groups that have come from this including the Content Creators Coalition and FarePlay. Unfortunately the rights holders have confused these groups, pointing them at piracy rather than what the major labels are doing. The rights holders take the “find the money” idea and point it towards P2P users rather than themselves.

As a matter of fact, the people who share files on the P2P networks have embraced the word “piracy”. In 2005, Rick Falkvinge started a Pirate Party in Sweden. That party grew, and it has grown throughout Europe. It is less popular in the US because the major labels are opposing it. Every statistic shows that they buy more music.

The world is changing. It is time that musicians found ways to connect with the people that use the P2P networks. Let’s leave the rights holders out, unless they are musicians!

Tom Jeffries, CEO and Founder, Safe-Xchange

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2 Responses to What is the Difference Between Musicians (Creators) and Rights Holders?

  1. Tom Murphy says:

    Tare much more complex issues here than just “labels are bad”. As an early member of the Content Creators Coalition mentioned in the article, the author seems to either misunderstand the groups actual goals, or eager to just lump us into the RIAA-bucket without looking deeper. Whether its P2P file sharing, or YouTube, or Pandora, or terrestrial radio – the simple challenge is when other people or companies profit from the use of music without the artist consent or sharing in the benefit. If artists choose to give their music away, great. If they wish to get paid for it, great. The creator should be the one deciding what happens with their art. Simple, eh? 😉

    • admin says:

      Tom, I’m going to copy our correspondence from LinkedIn:

      Me- I’m not saying “labels are bad”, although the major record labels are getting there. The CCC had some very good goals, but they seem to have gotten sidetracked. What I am saying is that we are going towards a plutocracy- government by the rich for the rich- rather than what Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address- “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. We need to avoid that, at least for the music business.

      You- Sidetracked? How so?

      Me- Sidetracked by people who are not creators.

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