Bill to expand copyright protection for local musicians advances in Senate

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A bill to benefit older, local recording artists in Hawaii is advancing in the Senate.

SB1287 passed out of a joint Senate Judiciary and Labor and Commerce and Consumer Protection committee hearing Wednesday.

It repeals Chapter 482C, Hawaii Revised Statutes to expand copyright protection for original work of sound recordings initially produced prior to Feb. 15, 1972.

“This is a good thing for our local musicians who were left unprotected by state laws,” said Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, D-Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka’ako, McCully, Moiliili, who introduced the bill.

Prior to the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, the copyright laws did not protect sound recordings. Recordings fixed prior to Feb. 15, 1972, were left to be protected by state laws.

“These recordings are culturally important to our community,” said Sen. Roslyn Baker, D-South and West Maui, chair of the Commerce and Consumer Protection committee. “This bill adds additional ownership rights and protection to artists who own the work.”

Fourteen-time Na Hoku Hanohano-award-winner Kenneth Makuakane was among many local artists who testified in support of the bill.

“This bill will right a long overdue wrong that has plagued recording artists and their record labels since the inception of the recording industry by making it clear that under Hawaii law recording artists and their record labels enjoy a public performance right in their sound recordings like their counterparts in virtually every other developed nation and like all U.S. songwriters and their publishers,” said Makuakane.

The term of protection for sound recordings fixed prior to Feb. 15, 1972 would be extended to February 15, 2047.

The Act would take effect upon final approval.

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