US vs Europe: The Copyright Tug of War – Bindu De Knock Yale Law School 13 November 2018


Almost all business transactions in the music industry centre around intellectual property law. Industry reports are announcing substantial growth in revenue, after the industry had a major setback due to piracy. Labels and publishers in particular seem the ones profiting most. On the other hand, the majority of songwriters and artists are still unable to make end ’s meet. Even major stars are unhappy with the revenues paid by their record labels.

In this talk we’ll compare the US vs Europe in their respective approaches to improve author’s and performing artists’ position in the current music industry. The US has among others introduced the Music Modernization Act and recently the Copyright Royalty Board ruled in favour of a major increase of royalties for interactive streaming. In Europe, there has been quite a bit of legislative since 2015 in order to create a more modern European copyright framework to strengthen authors’ and performing artists’ positions.

The biggest flaw of most legislative initiatives is that the music business’ current practices are not taken fully into account: the industry’s power houses may still exercise their leverage over authors and performing artists to prevent them from taking these advantages of reformed copyright laws and case law.

Bindu De Knock, LLM is the founder of CrossLink Legal, a law firm specializing in Music, Entertainment & Intellectual Property Law. Her music & entertainment practice deals with media- and advertising laws and regulations, freedom of information, licensing and protection of image rights, copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property. She is seasoned adviser and negotiator of contracts for DJ’s, music producers, songwriters vocalists, artists, labels, publishers and other entertainment professionals. Bindu represents world renowned DJ’s, songwriters, vocalists and other creatives. At Abbey Road Institute, Artez Conservatory and other renowned institutions, she teaches about legal issues for musicians. She published “Note by Note” in 2015, a book that serves as a general introduction to copyright matters for musicians. Bindu also co-hosts the “Music Wise Podcast” with American entertainer/coach Rhona Bennett. Bindu is a regular speaker at music conferences (f.e. Amsterdam Dance Event, Eurosonic Noorderslag en Dancfair).

The Payson R. Wolff (’54 J.D.) Lectureship in Law and Music Fund is an endowment fund that supports single-lecture guests, visiting professors from practice, and other professionals to explore the novel and complex questions of intellectual property, especially as they pertain to musicians and the music business. The Fund was established in 1996 in honor of Payson R. Wolff, one of the leading entertainment lawyers of his generation.


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