PRINCE’s NEW DEAL WITH WARNER BROTHERS RECORDS IS A PART OF THE RIPPLE EFFECT OF THE ISSUE OF COPYRIGHT TERMINATIONS UNDER U.S. COPYRIGHT LAW.
The music business headlines are touting the story that Prince has returned to Warner Brothers Records after 18 years with a deal that will see him regain ownership of his back catalog of recordings. This deal marks a new era as the ability to terminate master recording copyright after 35 years was granted in the Copyright Revision Act of 1976 and became effective in 1978, the year that Prince’s debut album came out.
Just as the record business has been staggering back to its feet after the digital assault started by Napster over a decade ago, another hard blow to the record industry business model is starting to have ripple effects. Recording artists and songwriters from 1978 and after are now entitled to start terminating their contractual transfers and demanding back their copyrights.