Copyright is the sole legal right to print, publish, perform, film or record a literary or artistic/musical work (Oxford Australian Students Dictionary PG.147). The field of copyright is extremely complex.

Copyright is a process which recognises the creativity of an artist, writer or performer and is the means by which income is generated to the artist, writer or performer.

Generally speaking members of the public are unaware of what they are allowed to do when they purchase a music CD/DVD or download a song. Legally the consumer is extremely restricted in how this work can be utilised. The purchase of a CD/DVD or other form of music work does not confer ownership to the consumer. When money is exchanged for the purchase of these items this is the artists royalties which is collected and distributed to the various people who have got copyright of the published work. The consumer is only allowed private use in there own home. If a consumer is wishing to instigate a public performance of the work they have to obtain permission from a variety of sources. In Australia this will involve obtaining a license from sources such as the record company, ARIA, PPCA or AMCOS. Some agencies offer “blanket” submission thus negating the necessity for contacting the label, composer or the original artist management. An important point to remember is that copyright is the major means by which the original artist or author is going to achieve an income.

Copyright royalties are engrained through the legal system in many countries, this is done through legal statue of the Copyright Act which is enforced in many countries through out the world, notably China, Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Europe and the Pacific region including Australia all acknowledge Copyright Law, although some countries maybe lax in there strict enforcement of the Act. Certain countries have been found to allow the publication of illegally pirated music, film, software & video-games.

To provide an example of the complexities of copyright law as pertaining in the present day one simply has to look at the accreditations on a CD album to see who is actually entitled to copyright for the production of the CD. For example, there is a sound engineer who has produced the particular sound of the recording, that sound maybe unique to his/her style of mixing, they are entitled to coinage every time that recording is broadcast due to it being his/her unique sound that they have produced. Furthermore, irrespective of the composer who created the piece of work the graphic artist will want his coinage for the art work. All of the people who contributed to the creation of the CD are entitled to receive royalties from the sale of the work.

As a result of this legally enforceable situation a person who chooses to download film content, video content and sound content are continually warned about the restrictions placed on them with regard to usage of the downloaded material. Many people are indifferent to the fact that they maybe depriving people of their income when they misuse their copyright entitlements. For example many people wish for the freedom to download the latest movie burn it to DVD and pass it on to their friends, even going to the extent of sharing the downloaded files to millions of people through file sharing software. Fortunately the legal system in many countries is doing as much as it can to try and ensure that the originating artists’ copyright entitlements are protected as far as can be made possible and it is not uncommon to see people in the US and UK being prosecuted for illegally downloading. It is a moot point whether this is called stealing or the deprivation of an income, either way the originating artist has the moral rights over the control of the publication of the material.

“This contract between the lead artist and the producer establishes an exclusive
agreement for recording of phonograms to be commercially published.
Where a permanent group of artists exists, the contract must be signed by
all members of the group. This contract guarantees a balanced relationship,
ensuring that artists are fairly paid and that producers can exploit phonograms
with the greatest chance of success.”

Check this YouTube video for a quick breakdown…. Break it down!!!

Pirate picture sourced from,

Malcolm Turnbull MP, (2015). Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper | Malcolm Turnbull MP. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Oct. 2015].

Quote sourced from,

Anon, (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Oct. 2015].

YouTube video sourced from,

YouTube, (2015). Basic guide to music contracts, royalties and copyright. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Oct. 2015].


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