All posts by horak Attorneys at law

Warning because of a copyright infringement

Copyright infringement? Warning!

If a piece of music is distributed, reproduced, performed or downloaded without the permission of the author, this constitutes a copyright infringement. Composers can issue a warning with the help of a lawyer and demand a cease-and-desist declaration and damages.

However, it is always recommended to contact a specialist in order to let your work of music analyzed and your legal chances proved.

 

When is your copyright infringed? What does copyright means?

For all these questions, you can contact horak. Attorneys-at-law: your legal team for music law in Germany. 

What do we have to offer? Music Law Attorneys

Music Law: What do we have to offer?

We advise artists, musicians, composers, lyricists, producers as well as media, publishing, production and distribution companies of all sizes in all matters of national and international music law. Nonetheless, we are specialist lawyers for copyright and media law.

Our music law focus also includes the following services:

  • Drafting and reviewing of contracts

Licence agreements, remuneration agreements as well as publishing agreements, edition agreements and publishing administration agreements including the drafting of contracts for the production of sound, film and data carriers

  • General media law

including publishing law, press law, internet law, music law, film law, television law and event law as well as contract drafting for film and television productions (script contracts, exploitation contracts, production agreements etc), media employment law

Management contracts, agency contracts, consultancy contracts and promotion contracts; media cooperation contracts and merchandising contracts

  • Technical protection measures

such as access control systems and copy protection systems, in particular copy protection for audio CDs, DVDs as well as film and multimedia DVDs, Blue Ray and other data carriers or cloud systems

  • Negotiations

for authors with production and distribution companies or support for the production and distribution companies

 

  • Copyright examinations

and evaluations, in particular in the sub-areas of design and art, as well as in the case of linguistic works, audio works & visual works

  • Rights examination, rights protection, rights enforcement

National and international rights management

  • Usage audits

Judicial and arbitral enforcement of all kinds of copyright claims, also in preliminary injunction proceedings and in international legal relations. Music law litigation and disputes

We are your legal team for music law located in the city center of Hannover. We are modern, flexible and have experience. Send us an email. We will get back to you. 

Composers’ rights – German Law

Is the copyright of musicians transferable?

A composer can NOT transfer the copyright of a musical work. This is also not possible by means of a contract. However, it is possible to grant others a right to use the work for particular agreed purpose. In order to do this, a licence agreement must be concluded. This latter contains the most important information about the scope of use and the remuneration.

German copyright law applies until 70 years after the death of the author. This means that as long as the composer is alive, the copyright is in its hands. After his/her death, it passes to his heirs for a total of 70 years. Only then is it considered “in the public domain”. Then anyone may perform the piece of music in public without permission or remuneration.

Attention: If publishers, record companies or performing musicians have acquired a right of exploitation beforehand, this right continues to exist!

Do you have any other questions according to this topic? Make sure to send us an e-mail. Law is our passion. Law is what we care about. Contact us. 

Plagiarism: Must Knows

Plagiarism: are cover and remixes plagiarisms? Do you need a special license to publish your cover?

If a musician wants to publish the work of another in his own interpretation or in edited form, he usually has to acquire the necessary rights first:

Cover version

A cover is a new edition of a piece of music. If lyrics and melody remain the same, musicians have to pay royalties. It does not matter if other instruments are used or if the melody is sung in a different voice pitch than in the original.

Editing

In the case of extensive changes to the melody and/or lyrics of the piece of music and if the original work is still clearly recognizable, the consent of the composer is required and a license agreement must be signed.

Remix

In a remix, the song is remixed or given new instrumentation.  Here, too, the following applies: If the original work is still recognizable, usage rights must be acquired.

Free use

If a piece of music is changed in such a way that it is hardly recognizable, it may be used without the consent of the author. This is called “free use”. In practice, however, there is hardly any free use of musical works.

Are you an artist looking for your professional music-law specialized legal team? 

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    Easy Explained: YouTube and “Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany”

    “Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany.”

    For German internet users, many a visit to YouTube ends in frustration. But why?

    For years, German YouTube users have often been presented with a terse notice that the desired video is not available.Google, as the owner and operator of YouTube, on the one hand, and GEMA, as the collecting society, on the other, simply could not agree on how much to pay per song played on the Internet.

    Records explain that Google wants to pay much less than GEMA would recognize as fair. On Friday the 20th April 2012, the Hamburg Regional Court ruled that the Internet portal YouTube may no longer put videos online for which GEMA, as the collecting society, claims copyright. In seven out of twelve cases, the court followed GEMA’s request.

    Specifically, the GEMA demands from YouTube that the platform operator check before publishing a video whether the clip contains music subject to licensing. YouTube categorically rejects this – it is not technically feasible. Every minute, YouTube users upload over 60 hours of videos. Users like to ignore the fact that there is a copyright law that cannot simply be undermined and that many artists do not want to do without remuneration.

    The GEMA or YouTube Disputes are no news to us. Do you have any queries about this topic? Make sure to contact us. 

    Horak. Attorneys-at-law : Your supporters in all copyright, media and music law matters.

     

    Musicians Copyrights

    Musicians Copyrights : Infos from your German Legal Team

    If you are a musician and you are willing to know a bit more about European and German Musicians Rights, the following information are for you.

    Copyright can be divided into three components: Exploitation rights, Right of use and Moral Rights.

    The exploitation/utilization rights are regulated in §§ 15 to 24 UrhG. These include the: reproduction right, distribution right, right of exhibition, and the right of communication to the public.
    These rights belong solely to the author, i.e. the composer, and cannot be transferred to other persons. Only upon the composer’s death do the exploitation rights pass to his or her heirs. However, it is possible to grant a right of use to others.

    Sections 31 to 44 UrhG regulate the rights of use of the authors. The composers may decide to grant their musical works to third parties for exploitation – e.g. record companies, publishers or musicians.

    The moral rights of an author are found in §§ 12 to 14 UrhG. A composer always has the right to be named as the author of his or her work. The author is also protected by law against distortion of the work; this means that the author’s personal interests in his/her work are endangered – e.g. in the case of deterioration or distorted representation of the work.

    Is the copyright of musicians transferable?
    A composer cannot transfer the copyright in a musical work as such. This is also not possible by means of a contract. However, it is possible to grant others a right to use the work. To do this, a licence agreement is concluded which contains the most important information about the scope of use and the remuneration.

    Are you a musician or an artist and you would like to be supported by a competent international music law firm? Contact us. We are the team you are looking for. 

    Three Things To Know About Music Law

    Three Things To Know About Music Law

    1. With the triumph of digital data carriers and the internet, the term “music piracy” is on everyone’s lips in music law. Music law contains an accumulation of regulations to combat and preventively curb the illegal distribution or illegal production of copies of copyrighted musical works. The limits of the said regulations are also found in copyright law, for example in the form of legal private copying from a source that is not obviously illegal, as defined in Section 53(1) UrhG.
    2. However, violations of personal rights in music law are also particularly relevant in practice. In particular, musical works may contain socially critical lyrics as well as insulting or discriminatory content. In such cases, a collision of personal rights and the fundamental right of artistic freedom is regularly at the centre, whereby music law affects public law.
    3. Furthermore, collecting societies play a massive role in the field of music law. Among the largest are the Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA) and the Gesellschaft zur Verwertung von Leistungsschutzrechten (GVL), which primarily look after the financial interests of the respective artists.

     

    We are international music and copyright ale experts. Book your appointment now – we will get back to you very soon.

    Sampling: definition and legal position

    Is sampling music legal?

    When a musician samples, he takes fragments from other people’s songs. Does he thereby violate copyright or is that freedom of art? The BGH has decided. Here an overview of the legal dispute from an article of the German https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/bgh-urheberrecht-101.html). In music, sampling refers to the process of using a part of an – already finished – sound or music recording in a new, often musical context. Nowadays, this is usually done with a hardware or software sampler, i.e., the selected sound sample is usually digitized and stored so that it can be further processed with audio programs.

    Why have they been arguing about this in court for years? A german rapper, singer and music producer thinks to this day that he was allowed to simply take the “music snippet” into his song. Legally, the issue is the conflict between artistic freedom and the rights one has as a producer of a sound carrier. These are the so-called copyrights and ancillary copyrights: “The author of a sound record has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute and make the sound carrier available to the public,” the Copyright Act states.

    What can we now expect from the BGH’s ruling? With its decision, the BGH must implement the guidelines of the ECJ judges. After hearing the case in January, it does not look like the judges in Karlsruhe will simply “wave through” the rapper´s sampling. So the question remains whether the artistic sound sequence in the song is recognizable or not. To have this clarified, the BGH could refer the case back to the Hamburg Higher Regional Court. If Pelham loses, the case could even go back to the Federal Constitutional Court. After all, he won there in 2016. Either way, the principles laid down by the courts affect the hip-hop and music scene as a whole.

    Musician, artists, writers: you know who to call. Horak Attorneys at law: your international law firm for music law.

    Making music in your flat without fighting with the neighbours in Germany

    Making music in your flat without neighbouring stress: is that possible in Germany?

    As a matter of fact, the old-fashion prerequisite of a happy home is having the freedom of doing what you like, when you like, with whom you like. But from a legal point of you? Is it true? Are we free to do whatever we like?

    The answer is the same: your freedom ends when mine begins. If your behavior is in some way causing a situation of distress for another person (it could be the neighbour, the flatmate etc.), your freedom could become a “torture” for someone else and this should be legally regulated. More precisely: you all know the problem: good vibes, a group of friend, a nice dinner listening to some music. Or you have just bought a new piano and want to practice every day. Is it allowed? How loud? Till when? Is there a legal regulation for this? Of course!

    Practising a musical instrument shall not be prohibited even in rented flats. The Higher Regional Court (OLG) Hamm has made it clear.There is a general right to make music (OLG Hamm, Ref. 15 W 122/80) and even practising an instrument on Sundays is not considered a disturbance of the peace per se.

    As a rule, a maximum of two hours of music-making per day should be tolerated. However, there are different court rulings on house music. The permitted practice time varies depending on the court decision – for the piano, for example, from one and a half to three hours a day.

    Every situation is different. No legal dispute is the same. Details matter. Your legal representation matters. Contact us.

     

     

    “Musikgutachter”: The legal role of music experts in Germany

    Music experts have significant influence on the decisions in almost all legal proceedings. In some cases, several expert opinions are requested in order to have an objective framework of the situation; it could also happen that different experts can contradict each other. In the last years, there has been an increasing “professionalisation”. In the beginning, expert opinions were still personal and sometimes methodologically questionable. Over time, experts with a certain familiarity with case law and legal vocabulary were chosen from the tribunal/legal structure. Increasingly, other methods besides the purely descriptive analysis of works and the comparison of notes from the fields of music psychology and music sociology started finding their way into expert opinions protocols. Today, the demands on music experts are correspondingly high. Sometimes several experts are commissioned to clarify technical questions of evidence.

    You can avoid arising music law conflicts if you commission a forensic music analysis of your production for legal certainty and quality control as a preventive measure before publication. You will receive an objective analysis of whether your work maintains the required distance from the comparative work of music.

    Our law firm works daily with cases of music plagiarism, distortion, adaptation, quotation, intellectual property protection. Get in touch with us. Our experts are here for you.

    Mrs. Anna Umberg is one of our copyright law specialists. Book an appointment with her.