When we launched the new Copyright Alliance website, we started a series of blogs called “Five Questions with…” to highlight our individual creator members. We asked creators to answer questions about the importance of the creative community and copyright (along with their personal and professional experiences in dealing with copyright issues). We then featured their responses and photos online.
This week, we are pleased to highlight Christos Badavas, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, from Copyright Alliance organization member SESAC.
1. Explain what your organization does and your role within the organization.
SESAC is a Music Rights Organization that administers public performance, mechanical and other rights associated with music. As General Counsel, I work with SESAC’s senior management team to design and implement ‘best of breed’ licensing and administration services for customers and clients while monitoring the rapidly changing copyright landscape for opportunities to grow SESAC’s business and brand.
2. What is your and your organization’s interest in copyright law? How does your organization or its members rely on copyright law to support their livelihoods?
SESAC’s reliance upon copyright law is critical to its mission of licensing, collecting, and distributing royalties on behalf of copyright owners. SESAC was founded as a performing rights organization to administer and distribute royalties for the use of musical compositions. During the past several years, SESAC has transitioned from performance rights to a “multi-rights” (performance, mechanical and micro-synch) Music Rights Organization, providing full service licensing administration and royalty services related to the use of musical compositions in streams, downloads, CDs, and other recordings (known as mechanical rights) and micro-licensing that focuses on high volume usage and tracking on social media sharing and discovery sites. Songwriters, composers, and music publishers rely upon revenue generated through licensing the use of their musical compositions to support themselves, their families, and their creative endeavors.
3. If there was one thing that you wished the public understood about copyright, what would it be?
I wish the public understood that songs don’t write themselves! The people that create the art form that is music deserve, and are legally entitled, to be fairly compensated for their creations when used by others. The exclusive rights that allow songwriters to earn a living through their art are granted in the Copyright Act as authorized by the Constitution of the United States.
4. What is your organization’s biggest copyright-related challenge?
SESAC’s biggest copyright-related challenge is navigating the significant amount of government regulation that impacts the commerce of copyrights in the marketplace.
5. If there was one aspect of the copyright law that you could change, what would that be and how would you change it?
SESAC supports the ongoing review of the Copyright Act and encourages, where appropriate, a reduction in the level of government regulation, particularly in the areas of statutory rates and compulsory licenses.
Sr. VP & General Counsel
SESAC Holdings, Inc.
Photo credit: Donald Bowers