Britney Spears is currently lighting up Las Vegas with her scintillating live show. The pop diva is known for her breathy hit songs that may be in danger of being used in ways she never imagined. The United States Patent and Trade Office is contemplating making a significant change to existing copyright law, which currently protects artists like Spears. The current copyright law is undergoing serious review, but Spears and music legends such as Steven Tyler want to keep things just as they are.
Spears and Tyler recently filed their official comments to the Department of Commerce, which oversees the copyright law. Rocker Tyler is actually leading the effort to get many of his fellow musical artists on board to block any changes. Spears had briefly performed with Tyler in the past during the 2001 Super Bowl. Now, years later, the two are once again collaborating on an important issue that could determine the future of recorded music.
According to The Wrap the Patent Office had set a January 8 deadline for receiving comments on the matter. However, activist groups representing artist like Spears and Tyler obtained the necessary permission to submit their comments in February. Other well known music celebrities such as rockers Ozzy Osbourne and Don Henley had also submitted comments on the law.
The issue of music ownership is an important one to celebrity artists because their songs are more likely to be affected by copyright changes. The main issue is the potential loosening of provisions that allow artists to determine who gets permission to use their songs for specific purposes. As of now, the artists, or their legal representatives, are the only ones who grant permission for commercial use of songs they own.
The Patent Office is considering changing the rules to allow anyone that pays a fee to be allowed to use a song in any way they wish. This new rule would therefore bypass the artist. For successful artists like Spears and Tyler it is not about the money, it is about maintaining ultimate control over the way their music is presented in the public realm.
Eagles member, Joe Walsh, stated in his letter, “It denies my rights under the Copyright Act to engage in fair market negotiation with the respect to exploitation of my work.” Spears, Tyler and other musicians share this sentiment and hope their efforts protect their work from unwanted exploitation.