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Posts Tagged ‘music copyright’

What Actually Is The Law About Copyright And Using Music?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

What actually is the law about copyright and using music?  We’re often asked this by people who want to use some music in their new project, but aren’t too sure about copyright law.  It could be for a youtube video, a new website, a podcast or a TV show, but the important thing is that they want to use music without any legal issues.  We’ve put together an article covering the basics (and a lot of the detail!) on music copyright law, to help you make the right choices when adding music to your project.  We’ve used our experience from years in the music business, to simply show what the law actually is, and how to make sure you stay legal 🙂

The article is here: Music Copyright And The Law

http://www.royalty-free.tv/rftv/copyright_advice.htm

Public Domain Music

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Public Domain Music

Public Domain Music

People often assume that because a piece of music is very old, and everyone knows it well enough to hum the tune, then it’s in the public domain and is OK for anyone to use as they choose.  It’s an easy mistake to make, but it could be costly if you include the wrong music in your media project and assume it’s Public Domain Music when it isn’t.  So how do you make sure you only pick music that’s safe to use, when you want public domain music?

Music Copyrights

Music has various rights attached to it, known as copyrights.  Public Domain Music is simply music that has has no rights attached to it.  This could be because the rights have expired over time, it could be that the rights over has placed the work into the public domain.  It could even be that the rights never existed, for example if a folk song was created way back in the mists of time and no-one knows by whom.  So what are the rights to look out for with music, before we can be sure a piece of music is in the public domain?

1 – the authors, i.e. the composers who wrote the music, and the lyricists who wrote the words.

2 – the publisher, who will have a share in the rights, usually alongside the authors

3 – the Mechanical rights.  If a public domain song is released on CD, the fact it’s an old song doesn’t mean the recording is Public Domain – copyright exists in the CD recording too.

For a piece of music to be considered as public domain music, each of those rights must not be active.

Safe Public Domain Music

So if you’re looking for some public domain music, let’s say a classical work for example, there are a few points to consider.  Firstly can you assume the author’s copyrights have expired?  With an old composer (Mozart, Beethoven etc.) that’s not a problem.  But remember that copyright exists for many years after the composer dies, so a composer who died in the 20th century will still have copyright present on their work.  Next, publishing, surely with Mozart this wouldn’t be a problem?  Usually not, but many classical pieces are published as written arrangements, and publishing copyrights may well exist in those arrangements.  Finally the mechanical rights, and why you can’t just use a CD of your favourite symphony orchestra!  Copyright exists in the actual recording (the master recording you hear on the CD),  so it’s not possible to use that particular recording, even though the composer’s rights may have expired long ago.

So what’s the solution to our classical music problem?  The best is to use a recent royalty free music recording,  where the mechanical rights have been licensed directly for royalty free distribution.  There are many websites with such music (including www.royalty-free.tv).

Can I Use Royalty Free Music For On-Hold?

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

We’re often asked about copyright, music on hold for telephone systems and royalty free production music, so here’s some useful information on the subject.

Having on-hold music on telephone systems requires the user to be licensed with:

1.    A “Mechanical” license, which allows you to physically store the music recording on your on-hold system.  The royalty-free music license issued with tracks you buy from www.royalty-free.tv includes this.  When you buy one of our music tracks you can chose between a “standard license” which covers you for a single location, or you can up-grade to a “full license” which covers you to use the track from multiple locations.  For example if you have offices situated in different parts of the country, or in different countries around the world, you should opt for the “full” version..  This license does not need to be renewed each year, it is a once-only purchase, so you can continue to use the track for as long as you wish.

Additionally, you may also need:

2.    A “Performing Rights” license.  Playing music on-hold has been deemed as a public performance in some countries, but not all, and so may require a performing license too.  You can check and obtain a license if necessary by asking your local Performing Rights Organisation, eg PRS in the UK. For a full list of these organisations, and links to their websites, please visit http://www.royalty-free.tv/rftv/performance_rights.htm

In terms of choice, www.royalty-free.tv has over 6,500 great production music tracks from 22 award-winning composers around the world, and we are constantly adding new ones.  You can search through the individual tracks, or browse over 100 different album downloads to find exactly the music for your onhold telephone systems that you need.  Our customers are always happy to be able to contact us and receive a prompt reply, whether  to answer queries or offer suggestions.  After all, we are composers ourselves!

Some thoughts on copyright and music piracy

Monday, September 21st, 2009

It’s been interesting to follow the debate about copyright law.  Some would seem to say that copyright laws should serve the public and not the “Rulers and the Divine Profits”, and that anything else is totaliterian and draconian.  If music is so important as to require free file-sharing for the good of the public, what about food?  Should that not also be freely available to all who are hungry?  Or housing – doesn’t everyone have a right to shelter?  Yes they do, and as a society our taxes go to help those “in extremis”.  But you can’t give food and housing free to the whole general public as a right – it’s simple logistics to understand that the builders of the houses, the manufacturers of the materials, the farmers who grow the crops should be paid, so they can grow more.  Composers should be paid, so they can write more.

If you try to skew the arguments with claims about “giant corporations” bleeding the country dry, that removes the identity of the composer, the musician, the initiator of the music.  This is where it all starts.  These are the forgotten people who make it happen.  They should be paid, and valued.

Those who take issue with the control and distribution of this created music, who object to the profits of the record companies, should instead of piracy find a new distribution system that connects the composer to the public.  They can’t just help themselves to whatever they want.  Some bands and artists make their music available to be downloaded for free – great.  That’s their choice, and it can be a useful way to promote a band.  At www.royalty-free.tv we connect the composers of production music direct to the media producers and TV programme makers.  We are composers ourselves, and the internet allows us to control the license terms and distribution of our tracks and those of others.  Great.  Let’s empower composers, not ignore them and tell the public to help itself to whatever.

Buy bread.  Buy houses.  Buy music.