New Copyrright Models Being Discussed at WIPO

Brian Message, Manager of Radiohead, led one discussion that analogized individual music performers to start-up companies, requiring start-up investment capital, recommending artists maintain their IPRs as individuals and find publishers who will broadcast their work product for a service fee. Several examples were given.  Key point: If the artists are currently presumed to be shortchanged for their labors, it may not be because the percentage or royalty rate is too low, it may be that too many shares are given out.  The model should change. The suggestion that the artist maintain the copyright (and eliminate the traditional music company) is the core to the idea, and the possibility for this exits because artists can now operate in a purely digital environement. What's going on in WIPO is a more general discussion of what is happening with copyright reform around the world.  (See, for example, Brazil's efforts at reform.)

This brings into play a whole new set of questions that need answered for any effective valuation of copyright assets. For example, if what is being considered in Brazil becomes reality elsewhere, artists who have signed away their intellectual property rights will have a right to get them back, within a statutorially-established process...yet another contingent value to consider.