U.K. Artists Form Coalition To Protect Rights

Dozens of U.K. artists, including Radiohead, The Verve, Kaiser Chiefs and Kate Nash, have signed up to a new representative body, the Featured Artists' Coalition.

Dozens of U.K. artists, including Radiohead, The Verve, Kaiser Chiefs and Kate Nash, have signed up to a new representative body, the Featured Artists' Coalition.

The London-based organization was officially launched at Manchester's In the City conference on Sunday (Oct. 5). It will campaign for the protection of performers' and musicians' rights and argue for greater control for members over their own recordings.

So far more than 60 artists have joined by signing the founding charter. Other members include David Gilmour, Billy Bragg and Klaxons.

It takes its name from "featured artists" credited on recordings who are the primary named performers, describing them as "responsible for the majority of income in the music industry."

The Featured Artists' Coalition will begin by campaigning for changes in the laws covering the music industry, in an effort to ensure that artists always retain ultimate ownership of their music and that all agreements between artists and others are fair and transparent.

The launch of a new organization for artists follows the formation of U.K. Music last month, which also claims to speak on behalf of artists as well as the rest of the industry.

In a statement, the Featured Artists' Coalition has outlined six areas where it is seeking the following changes:

- "An agreement by the music industry that artists should receive fair compensation whenever their business partners receive an economic return from the exploitation of the artists' work."

- "All transfers of copyright should be by license rather than by assignment, and limited to 35 years." It says Germany's precedent on licensing instead of assigning rights should be followed.

- "The making available right should be monetized on behalf of featured artists and all other performers." It states that artists have been obliged to assign this digital music right in recording agreements and says they should be fairly compensated.

- "Copyright owners to be obliged to follow a 'use it or lose it' approach to the copyrights they control." This would exist to ensure that artists' work is always available physically and digitally, preventing fans having to download it illegally.

- "The rights for performers should be the same as those for authors (songwriters, lyricists and composers)." It wants to address some of the areas where authors get paid for the use of a work but performers do not.

- "A change to U.K. copyright law which will end the commercial exploitation of unlicensed music purporting to be used in conjunction with 'critical reviews.'" It claims that several companies are producing DVDs in the U.K. which use an artist's audio-visual footage and avoid the need for permission or payment by including a review at the end of the DVD, so that it qualifies as a work of "critical review."