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Bill Ends Indentured Servitude Of Artists
By Eric de Fontenay (Founder & Publisher)
(more articles from this author)
2002-11-05
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If you have the chance to live in NY state and were looking for some indication that state government can have a beneficial impact on your life and career (and thus a reason to give a damn about Tuesday's vote), the NY State Assembly might have just hit a nerve. Led by its wheeling-&-dealing speaker Sheldon Silver, the chamber introduced the Artistic Freedom Act of 2002 meant to protect recording artists from unreasonably long contractual obligations under the standard artist/label agreements, often stretching for decades.

The bill would place artist/label agreements on the same footing as other personal service contracts in the entertainment industry under New York state law. Agreements would be limited to three years for unrepresented artists and seven years for artists represented by qualified counsel.

What was the alternative? The "standard" contract is more akin to colonial-time indentured service arrangements by obligating artists to deliver multiple albums (up to seven), resulting in "binding time frames of as long as 25 years." The label on the other hand has no equivalent obligation to release, market or promote the albums. Bill sponsor Assemblyman Roger Green noted that artists rarely receive any royalties or other share of the profits made from the sale of their records, leaving them with the initial advance payment, which can be as low as $20,000.

Related News from Mi2N:
» Silver And Green Join Roberta Flack At Carnegie Hall News Conference In Announcing New "Artistic Freedom" Legislation Bill
» Artistic Freedom Act Of 2002


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