DiMA

Copyright in Music

It is important to note that there are two separate copyrightable components of any single recording of a musical work: the composition and the sound recording.

 

MUSICAL COMPOSITION  The musical composition consists of the music, as written, including any accompanying words. The author of a musical composition is generally the composer and the lyricist, if there are lyrics. A musical composition can be in the form of a notated copy (for example, sheet music), or in a sound recording, such as a master recording or a phonorecord, such as an LP, cassette tape, CD or a digital phonerecord “DPD,” such as an MP3 or other digital file.  See:  Modernizing Music Licensing to Promote Innovative Business Models

 

SOUND RECORDING  The sound recording, on the other hand, results from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds into a tangible medium that can be played back. The author of a sound recording is the performer(s) whose performance is fixed, the record producer/engineer who processes the sounds and fixes them in the final recording, or both. Not the author of the underlying musical work, however. Copyright in a sound recording is not the same as, or a substitute for, copyright in the underlying musical composition.

 

Except for in the case of terrestrial, analog radio, a separate license must be obtained from the BOTH the copyright owner of the “musical work” AND the “sound recording” as described above, before a particular sound recording of a musical work can be used.  Currently, terrestrial analog radio enjoys an exemption from the requirement to obtain a license for the sound recordings they play (they still have to get a license for the underlying musical works, however). Performance Rights Act

 

Distribution and Performance of Musical Works

 

Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright in original musical works, the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to:

  • To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
  • To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
  • To perform the work publicly.

           

That means that you must obtain the authority to either 1) make and distribute copies of a musical work, or 2) to publicly perform a musical work. See: Modernizing Music Licensing to Promote Innovative Business Models

 

Distribution and Performance of Sound Recordings

 

Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright in a sound recording of a musical work, the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to:

  • To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
  • To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
  • In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

 

That means that you must obtain the authority to either 1) make and distribute copies of the sound recordings, or 2) to publicly perform the sound recordings, by means of a digital transmission.