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Musicians Union Q&A

Musicians Union Q&A

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Published by Son of Rizq
Question and Answers about the Musican's Union
Question and Answers about the Musican's Union

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Published by: Son of Rizq on Jul 11, 2013
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Musicians’ Union Q&A –
Copyright
In the first of what we intend to be a long running web-feature we are going to be
quizzing the generous folks at the Musicians’ Union about all manner of essentialknowledge for today’s modern music maker. In our first installment we’re going to be
asking a series of questions concerning that most vital legal consideration to theprofessional artist. Copyright.
 
Copyright is a fundamental legal precept and it‟s integral for those who generate unique,
competitive content to have their rights firmly understood. There are many out there whoharbour ambitions of being a professional musician but know little about the law when itcomes to ownership of their creative works.We sat down with Ben Jones (National Organiser, Recording and Broadcasting) from theMusicians Union to quiz him about everything you should know when it comes to copyright.
 
 
Ben Jones
 
How important do you think copyrighting your music is in the modern music worldfor aspiring professional artists
Very. Copyright is essentially the right to prevent copying, but actually comprises a bundleof rights that enable the copyright owner to prevent or authorise the use of their copyrightwork.
In the UK the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) (“the Act”) gives a
copyright owner the means to protect his copyright work by making it an infringement of copyright:
 
to copy the work,
 
to issue copies to the public,
 
to rent or lend the work,
 
to perform, show or play the work in public,
 
to communicate the work to the public
 
to make an adaptation, or do any of the above in relation to an adaptation of the work.
 
Under the Act the first owner of copyright in a qualifying work is the author or creator of it.Qualifying works include original musical works, dramatic works, literary works and artisticworks.In the UK, copyright comes into existence when a work is created and recorded, in writingor otherwise. So a song idea in your head does not acquire copyright, and thereforecopyright protection, until the music (a musical work) and lyrics (a literary work) are writtendown, recorded onto a tape or disc, saved onto a computer, etc.
Where do you begin if you want to copyright your material? And how does the
Musicians’ Union help in that regard?
 
Copyright in a song 
 Copyright exists in each of the following elements of a song or composition:
 
the music, including the melody (a musical work);
 
the lyrics (a literary work);
 
the typographical arrangement of the score;
 
a new arrangement, or adaptation, of an existing musical work (but, as above, making an
adaptation of someone else‟s copyright work is an infringement, unless it is made with
their permission).The copyright in a song is usually, but not always, divided 50% music/melody and 50%lyrics.How copyright is to be shared between co-writers should be negotiated and agreed inwriting when the work is created to avoid argument later. The MU has a simple one pagesong-share agreement for use by members to formally agree the division of copyright in anew musical work.
How long does copyright last? 
 Copyright in musical and literary works, e.g. songs, compositions, lyrics and arrangements,lasts for 70 years from the end of the year in which the author dies (or where there are co-authors 70 years from the end of the year in which the last author dies). As well as the copyright in the song/composition, the following rights exist in recordedmusic:

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