Utilizing Copyright for Commercial Gain in Music(1)
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Over the years, music has proven to be a lucrative and prosperous career path, resulting in many artistes smiling at the bank. However, in spite of the wealth attributed to music, an artiste might lose out financially if he or she has little or no knowledge of copyright and how to utilize it for commercial gains.
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Copyright can be defined as a right granted to the author or originator of certain literary or artistic productions whereby the creation is invested for a limited period with the sole and exclusive privilege of multiplying copies of the literary or artistic works and publishing or selling them. In relation to music, once a song is written, recorded or produced, copyright protection begins automatically. There is no obligation to register a copyrighted work, although, it is advisable to do so in order to have a strong claim if copyright infringement occurs in the future. An authentic work can be protected for a minimum of fifty years and up to seventy years in some jurisdictions.
Artistes who own copyrighted works have the right to authorize, obtain or prohibit monetary compensation for the: reproduction, distribution, communication, adaptation and broadcasting of such works.
Artistes can also sell or license their works for a fee known as royalties. The person whom the rights are sold to or assigned to become the new owner of the copyright.
Licensing involves the copyright owner entering into a deal with a third party, authorizing it to use the work for a specific purpose and time period. These licenses may be exclusive, involving only one party or non-exclusive, involving multiple parties.
It is practically impossible for authors and performers to have a separate licensing deal with every radio or television station or other businesses to use their work. Musicians and creators sign up and thereafter grant exclusive licenses to collective management organisations. While these organisations act on behalf of songwriters, musicians and performers, they connect creators with those who want to use their work. They negotiate on the behalf of artistes, receive royalties and look out for copyright infringement.
On a final note, copyright is essential to music artistes, composers and performers who want to benefit financially from their works.
For the Entertainment and Fashion Division, IPTLCUI