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Let's us find out all about the Music Copyright


Copyright registration online – Music copyright means legal control over your musical composition or sound recordings. In this ownership, you get exclusive rights to reproduce and redistribute your work with the licensing rights, which allows copyright holders to earn money.

Types of Music Copyright

In the realm of music copyright, there are several types of rights and protections that govern the use and distribution of musical compositions and sound recordings. These rights help creators, performers, and copyright holders control and benefit from their musical works. The primary types of music copyright include:

  1. Copyright in Musical Compositions:

    • Musical Work Copyright: This covers the underlying musical composition, including the melody, lyrics, and musical notation. It grants exclusive rights to the composer or songwriter. These rights include the right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and create derivative works based on the composition.
    • Lyric Copyright: In cases where lyrics are separate from the music, lyrics can have their own copyright. This allows lyricists to control the use of their written words.
  2. Copyright in Sound Recordings:

    • Sound Recording Copyright: This copyright covers the specific recorded performance or rendition of a musical composition. It is separate from the copyright in the musical composition itself. Sound recording copyright is typically owned by the record label or producer responsible for the recording.
  3. Mechanical Rights:

    • Mechanical Licensing: This refers to the right to reproduce and distribute musical compositions as sound recordings. Mechanical licenses are typically required when a song is recorded and distributed on physical media or in digital formats like CDs, vinyl records, or digital downloads. These licenses are often granted by music publishers or collective rights organizations.
  4. Performance Rights:

    • Public Performance Rights: These rights grant the copyright holder the authority to control public performances of musical compositions. Public performances include live concerts, radio and TV broadcasts, streaming, and public venues like restaurants or clubs. In many countries, these rights are administered by performance rights organizations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the United States.
  5. Synchronization Rights:

    • Synchronization Licensing: Synchronization rights permit the use of a musical composition in conjunction with visual media, such as films, TV shows, commercials, video games, and online content. When music is “synced” with visual content, a synchronization license is required. The rights holder for both the musical composition and the sound recording may need to grant permission.
  6. Derivative Works:

    • Copyright holders can control the creation of derivative works based on their musical compositions, such as remixes, cover versions, and adaptations. Obtaining permission or licenses may be necessary for creating and distributing such works.
  7. Public Domain Music: Some older musical compositions are in the public domain, meaning they are no longer protected by copyright. This allows them to be used freely without the need for licenses or permissions.

  8. Moral Rights: In some countries, creators have moral rights over their works, which include the right to be credited for their creations and the right to object to derogatory treatment of their works.

The specific laws and regulations regarding music copyright vary by country, and it’s essential to understand and respect these rights when using or creating music. In many cases, licensing and permissions are required to use music in various ways, and there are organizations and agencies that help facilitate these transactions and ensure that creators are compensated for their work.

Basic Music Copyright Law

Basic music copyright law encompasses the legal framework that protects musical works and ensures that creators, composers, and performers have control over their creations. Here are the fundamental aspects of music copyright law:

  1. Creation and Originality:

Automatic Protection: In most countries, musical compositions are automatically protected by copyright law as soon as they are created and fixed in a tangible medium (written down, recorded, etc.). There is no need to register the work for copyright protection to apply.

Originality: To be eligible for copyright protection, a musical work must be original, meaning it must be independently created and not merely a copy of someone else’s work.

  1. Rights of Copyright Holders:

Reproduction: Copyright holders have the exclusive right to reproduce their musical compositions. This includes making copies of sheet music, recordings, or other forms of the work.

Distribution: Copyright holders can control the distribution of their music to the public, such as selling CDs, vinyl records, or digital downloads.

Public Performance: Copyright holders have the right to control public performances of their music. This includes live performances, radio and TV broadcasts, and online streaming.

Derivative Works: Copyright holders can create or authorize others to create derivative works based on their original compositions, such as remixes or arrangements.

  1. Duration of Copyright Protection:

Duration: The duration of copyright protection for musical compositions varies by country but generally lasts for the lifetime of the creator plus an additional number of years (often 50 or 70 years) after their death. After this period, the work enters the public domain and can be freely used by the public.

  1. Performance Rights Organizations (PROs):

Collective Management: PROs like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the United States, SOCAN in Canada, and PRS for Music in the UK, collect royalties on behalf of composers and publishers for public performances of their music. They ensure that artists are compensated when their music is played in public.

  1. Fair Use and Licensing:

Fair Use: Certain uses of copyrighted music may qualify as fair use, such as for educational or transformative purposes. Fair use is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Licensing: For most commercial uses of copyrighted music, licenses are required. This includes using music in movies, TV shows, commercials, and public performances. Licensing agreements outline the terms and conditions of use and often involve payment of royalties to the copyright holders.

  1. International Treaties:

Berne Convention: Many countries are signatories to the Berne Convention, an international treaty that establishes a minimum set of standards for the protection of the rights of authors, including musicians.

Understanding and respecting these basic principles of music copyright law are essential for musicians, composers, producers, and anyone involved in the music industry. It’s also crucial for individuals and organizations that want to use music in various contexts to be aware of copyright laws to avoid legal issues and compensate creators for their work.

Term Of Copyright

Copyright in literary and musical work will exist for sixty years from the date of its publication or for the lifetime of the author and sixty years from the date of his death. So, the copyright of the lyricist and composer of the song remain till the date of their death plus sixty years after they die.

The copyright of a sound recording is sixty years from the starting of the calendar year following the year in which it is published. Thus, the copyright of the producers will be sixty years starting from the next year of the publication. Performer’s rights or the singer’s rights in a song will be fifty years starting from the next year in which the performance is given

Copyright Of Music In India-Things You Need To Know?

Registration Process

The Copyright Rules provide the procedure of registration of a copyright. For registration of a copyright, Form XIV is the application to be filled along with its prescribed fee to the Registrar of Copyrights (“Registrar”). The Form XIV is to be signed by the applicant. If the owner applies for copyright, he should file the No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the other authors, i.e. lyricist or composer or producer, if any, involved in making the song. The application can be posted to the Registrar or filed online on the copyright website of the Government of India.

The applicant should give notice to every person who claims to have an interest in the subject matter of the copyright. When the Registrar is satisfied with the correctness of the particulars given in the application, and he receives no objection within thirty days of filing the application, he shall make an entry of the copyright in his Register.

When he is dissatisfied with the correctness of the particulars made in the application, he shall hold an enquiry. The Registrar can accept/reject the application based on the enquiry and after giving an opportunity of being heard to the applicant.

When the Registrar receives any objection to the application, he provides an opportunity of being herald to the parties. After making an enquiry and hearing to the parties, he may enter the particulars in his Register. The registration is complete when the Registrar signs the copy of the entry of the copyright in his Register.

Copyright Laws in India

Copyright is an exclusive right that the owner over their literary, artistic, dramatic, sound recordings, cinematographic works. It protects the creator’s work from unauthorized duplication. Copyright law in India has its importance in all these fields:

  • Copyright in Literary works: Literary works are protected by copyright. Literary works include books, newspapers, magazines, journals, anthologies, novels, software and programs, letters, e-mails, poetry, lyrics of songs, tables, dictionary meanings, and compilations (physical forms).

  • Copyright in Dramatic works: Dramatic works include dance, screenplays, ballets, operas, and many more. Copyright in the field of dramatic protects the original works of creators, composers, choreographers, dramatists, poets, authors who are the owners from replication of their work.

  • Musical work means a work which consists of music and it is made of a combination of graphical notations or graphic score that represents music through visual symbols. The author of the musical work is known as a composer. 

  • Sound recordings which comprises of any person’s speech, songs sung by any person with or without music such as any audio or any podcast. These are also subjected to copyright just like musical works.

Protection to remix makers under the Copyright Act

According to section 51 of the Act, if any person infringes the right conferred upon the owner of the copyright, it shall be noted as an infringement. However, it will not amount to an infringement if:

  • A person copies musical work, artistic work, or any other work by giving a prior notice of his intention and pays advance royalty to the owner of the original work. Just like in the case of making the remix songs, royalties are paid to the author in advance.

  • The new work must not be marketed with labels or packaging that might mislead the public about the identity of the artist.

  • The new work should not be made until the expiration of two years after the end of the year in which the original work was made.

  • The author of the original work should be given the right to inspect all the books of account related to the new work.

It is clear that remix versions of the songs in a music industry require an equal number of protections as the original works when such remix versions are launched legally by following the above-mentioned guidelines. A major issue with “remixes” is the extent of original contribution in the adaptation of older work and even the amount of royalty has not been specified anywhere that leads to the payment of paltry amounts to the authors.

How Auriga Accounting Helps In Copyright Registration ?

However, Auriga Accounting Private Limited can assist individuals and businesses in various ways when it comes to copyright registration:

  • Expert Guidance: Auriga Accounting professionals can provide expert guidance on the financial aspects of copyright registration, including fee structures, budgeting for registration costs, and financial planning related to copyright ownership.
  • Record Keeping: Auriga Accountants can help you maintain proper financial records related to copyright registration fees and other associated expenses, ensuring that your financial documentation is in order.
  • Tax Implications: Copyright-related income, such as royalties from licensed works, can have tax implications. Auriga Accountants Private Limited can advise you on tax matters related to your copyrighted works, helping you comply with tax regulations.
  • Risk Management: Auriga Accounting Private Limited assess financial risks and implement strategies to mitigate them, ensuring the business is well-prepared to face challenges.
  • Business Expansion: Auriga Accounting provide valuable insights and financial models for business expansion strategies, mergers, acquisitions, and international expansions.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Auriga Accounting keep businesses updated about changing regulations and ensure that the business operations are in compliance with industry standards and legal requirements.