David Nimmer: US Copyright Culminating in its Music Modernization Act

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 17:30to19:00
Hôtel de l'ITHQ, Auditorium local 1.59, 3535, rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC, H2X 3P1, CA

ALAI and the CIPP welcome Professor David Nimmer.

In October 2018, Congress passed a massive amendment to the US Copyright Act, under the caption “Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act.” The upheaval caused by that earthquake is still being felt. Professor Nimmer will place these events in context.

Taking a comprehensive look at US copyright law as it progressed through the 20th century, he will focus on its distinctive provisions governing the exploitation of musical compositions and sound recordings. He will show how the 1976 Act slotted those works for protection, including its distinctive feature allowing “termination of transfer,” namely the recapture of works 35 years after granting rights in them. From there, we will work through numerous details of the 2018 blockbuster legislation. Beyond placing it in the context of what has come before (including its impact on termination of transfer), he will root matters in their 21st century implementation.

Included will be a look at such features as:

  • Federalization of protection for pre-1972 sound recordings, which formerly were protected as a matter of state law;
  • The newly established blanket license, administered by a “mechanical licensing collective”;
  • Status of voluntary licenses in the context of the newly formed blanket license;
  • The coordinate establishment of the role of “digital licensee coordinator”;
  • Regulation of functions of “digital musical providers”;
  • The massive new “musical works database” that lubricates the entire process;
  • Effect of these new forms on traditional copyright infringement causes of action;
  • The brainteaser of what constitutes “digital phonorecord delivery”; and
  • Further ruminations on the new treatment of musical compositions versus sound recordings.

About the speaker

David Nimmer is of counsel to Irell & Manella LLP in Los Angeles, California. He also serves as Professor from Practice at UCLA School of Law, and Distinguished Scholar at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. He has also been a guest professor at many universities around the world. While resident in at Paris V—René Descartes, he delivered a lecture entitled “Remarques peu orthodoxes sur la protection du droit d’auteur en France et aux Etats-Unis,” which was published in Entertainment, Issue No. 8 (2018).

Since 1985, Prof. Nimmer has authored and updated Nimmer on Copyright, the standard reference treatise in the field, first published in 1963 by his late father, Professor Melville B. Nimmer. The U.S. Supreme Court has cited Nimmer on Copyright on numerous occasions, as has every federal appellate court, countless district and state courts, as well as courts confronting copyright cases in countries across the globe.

Widely recognized as a foremost expert in copyright law, Prof. Nimmer was named one of “The 25 Most Influential People in IP” by The American Lawyer. He has also been named the 2018 Copyright Law “Lawyer of the Year” and the 2013 Los Angeles Litigation Intellectual Property “Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America and one of California’s “Top 10 Copyright Lawyers” by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal. Prof. Nimmer represents clients in the entertainment, publishing and high-technology fields. 

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