Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.

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Home » Recent News » EMI Loses Rights to Christmas Classic


EMI Loses Rights to Christmas Classic

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santa-890523_640In 2016, EMI will lose the rights to the most performed Christmas song of all time, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Covered by musicians ranging from Bruce Springsteen of Locals 399 (Asbury Park, NJ) and 47 (Los Angeles, CA) to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Justin Beiber of Local 418 (Stratford, ON), the rights to the song will revert to the heirs of J. Fred Coots, who co-wrote the tune with Haven Gillespie in 1934. The song would have gone to public domain if not for copyright law amendments and term extensions that will protect the song until 2029.

Since the penning of the tune, the Coots family and EMI have made various agreements. Coots granted renewal rights in 1951 and made a $100,000 rights deal in 1981 that allowed the publisher to continue to exploit the song. The latter deal came after Coots attempted a termination, which was never officially recorded. EMI argued the 1951 deal was still active and the family couldn’t terminate the renewal period of a pre-78 grant.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ruled that the parties made it clear that the 1981 agreement was meant to replace the 1951 agreement, and failure to record a termination notice in 1981 was “irrelevant.”







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