Monday, February 25, 2013

Copyright Law and Amoeba Records

I'm a sucker for a good copyright law story, as you may have surmised based on previous blog posts. I think it's because regardless of your chosen field of law, it's an area that touches your life on a regular basis. I have yet to need a divorce or criminal attorney, but I often second-guess the legal ramifications of my online actions when it comes to downloading images and music.

So here's another story about copyright law:

Amoeba Records, a music store in Los Angeles and elsewhere that allows trade-ins and sells vintage vinyl, has begun digitizing old songs and whole albums, then selling them on their Vinyl Vaults page on their website. You may be morally opposed to this activity as the original musicians and rights holders are unlikely to see a dime from the endeavor. On the other hand, you may see it as a fortuitous way for unknowns to finally get the spotlight they deserve.

As an attorney, however, you're obligated to comply with the law on downloading illegally copied/digitized music. One facet of this story may be whether or not the works Amoeba is digitizing ever had copyright protection in the first place. Another facet concerns whether the works' copyrights have expired.