Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

First Page



To protest the 1999 Copyright Act amendment, recording artists Don Henley and Sheryl Crow, among others, co-founded the RAC. While formed to serve as a "voice for artists' rights," the primary impetus behind its founding was to lobby Congress to delete sound recordings from the definition of "works made for hire" in the Copyright Act. Together with intense lobbying by AFTRA, individual recording artists and legal scholars, the RAC succeeded--in October 2000, sound recordings were removed from the definition of "works made for hire."

The momentum gained by artists in this lobbying effort inspired an attack on the other proverbial thorn in the side of recording artists--the Seven Year Statute. Since mid-2001, politicians, most notably Senator Kevin Murray, themselves have responded to this momentum by meeting with dozens of recording artists, artists' coalitions and labor union officials. Perhaps the most ambitious lobbying move yet staged by recording artists was four simultaneous concerts occurring in Los Angeles on February 26,2002. Led by Henley, RAC organized the concerts, which included performances by artists such as The Eagles, Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks, Billy Joel, Tom Petty and Beck. All concert proceeds went to RAC for the legal bills it has incurred in its lobbying efforts. In all, the concerts raised $2.5 million for RAC. Henley, however, is careful to note that the concerts were not only about raising money: "This is an awareness-raising exercise, but the money that we're going to generate is not insignificant."