Music Artists Coalition backs California law change to extend seven-year rule to music creators

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By Chris Cooke | Posted on Monday, March 22, 2021

The US Music Artists Coalition last week backed proposals to reform the seven-year rule in California employment laws so that recording artists definitely benefit from the principle.

This rule of California state law says people can cancel personal service contracts after seven years. What this means for record and music publishing contracts signed in California has long been debated, given that these music industry deals tend to be production-related – i.e. number of albums or songs – rather than time.

In terms of recording contracts, a 1980s amendment to the rule has proven to be significant over the years. He says labels can claim damages if an artist canceling a deal after seven years means they’re out of pocket based on their initial investment. Artists and managers argue that – in most cases – this makes this particular protection under California law unnecessary for music creators.

California State MP Lorena Gonzalez has now proposed changes to the California Labor Code – dubbed the FAIR Act – that would ensure that performers could benefit from the seven-year rule. It would also increase the rights of actors who are subject to exclusive agreements with state production studios.

Speaking on behalf of the MAC, veteran artistic director Irving Azoff said last week, “Streaming has been an unprecedented boon for record companies, but not for artists. It is unfair that the only Californians excluded from the protection of the seven-year law are performers. We call on our partner record labels and members of the California legislature to join us in supporting this important initiative. We must protect artists and modernize this archaic law ”.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez added, “The landscape of the entertainment industry has changed dramatically, but companies still benefit from outdated laws that allow them to exercise overwhelming control over artists. No worker should ever be bound by an unreasonable contract that prevents them from making decisions about their own livelihood. It’s time we changed the law to reflect a new reality for creators. I introduced the FAIR Act just to ensure that artists have the power to freely practice their craft and pursue careers doing what they love ”.

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