Statutory royalties prevent monopolies, not “takings”

In a recent post on The Trichordist, user “thetrichordist” (it’s not clear who that actually is) posted an article called Pre-72 Red Herrings from Pandora’s Chris Harrison (and that’s not the IPO kind). There are several things that are ridiculous about that article, but I’d like to focus on one thing in particular.

In the article, the writer says:

a statutory royalty […] is actually fair compensation for rights the law takes away from artists and copyright owners in the compulsory license that is necessary to avoid a “taking” under the 5th Amendment[.]

To be blunt, this is utter and complete horseshit. Statutory royalties are not there to prevent “takings,” because the statutory royalties were a condition of granting the rights in the first place. There was literally nothing to “take.”

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Pandora And SiriusXM Pay Royalties to Pre-1972 Artists

If you have been following stories about Pandora, this headline may surprise you. Did something happen recently? Did they lose some lawsuit? Change their policies?

In fact, nothing whatsoever has changed. Pandora and SiriusXM are paying exactly the same royalties they were yesterday. The key word is the word “artist.” If you think songwriters are “artists,” then the statement is true, and always was. But if you are talking about recording artists – artists who perform the song on the recordings, but did not write the music – then the title is wrong.

Without clarifying which sort of “artist” you’re talking about, the title is misleading. If you are deliberately being misleading, then in my book, you are lying.

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