Losing It: Swift Lashes Out Against Her Label Over Her Copyrights

Big machine or big bully?

The record company Big Machine Label Group, one of the most successful independent labels in the country has been sold. Ithaca Holdings paid an estimated $300 million dollars for Big Machine. One of the most notable artists, Taylor Swift, lashed out against Scooter Braun, the manager of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, for not informing her about the deal. Swift claims the company bullied her and would not let her buy back the masters of her music. A lot of people do not realize that both the lyrics and actual sound recordings are separately copyrightable. Although Swift wrote and recorded her songs, she does not own the masters of her first six albums.

Ideas are not copyrightable; however, original expressions are. Not only does the expression need to be original, i.e. unique or new, but it also needs to be fixated into a medium to be protectable. Swift made all her music; however, she does not own all of her songs, which is hard to fathom. Depending on how the contract is drafted, an artist can own the rights to all their music or the label itself can own the rights. Depending on the clout of the artist, the labels typically have most of the bargaining power. For lack of a better phrase, the big machine of the record industry and record labels is slowly disappearing as independent labels are emerging. Artists should own the rights to all of their music; however, unfortunately, that is typically not the case. Do you need copyright help? Do you have something that is copyrightable? Carter Law Group can help you!

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