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!
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