Izzy Chen, ‘Copyright for DJs: A Statutory License to Legitimize DJs in Streaming’

The disc jockey (‘DJ’) field has historically been faced with copyright compliance issues, and the Covid-19 pandemic has intensified these copyright confrontations. When all in-person gatherings were on pause, DJs had no means to perform and connect to their audience other than through the streaming services. However, without a regulatory framework in place to legitimize DJing practice in streaming contexts, DJs have frustratingly found themselves in a dubious legal environment. Creative solutions are required to facilitate music licensing on an unprecedented scale in both audio and video formats and across a myriad of platforms. This Note recommends a legislative amendment to adopt a DJ blanket license in the form of a revised version of Professor Menell’s proposal to expand the § 115 statutory license to cover mixes and remixes. The revised blanket license that allows DJs’ use of copyrighted music in streaming will strike a balance between the rights holders’ interests in fair compensation and DJs’ interests in artistic expression and creation. To account for the compulsory nature, the interests of both sides and the established industry standards will inform tailored royalty payouts for various streaming scenarios.

Chen, Yunzhu, Copyright for DJs: A Statutory License to Legitimize DJs in Streaming (December 1, 2021). 49 AIPLA Quarterly Journal 611 (2021).

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