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.
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: 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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“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.
True or False – Music Law:
Quick Check on the most Frequent Asked Questions of the internet
Are self-composed songs automatically protected by copyright?
German copyright law automatically protects music or sheet music and song lyrics.
What has copyright to do with music?
The musical work is protected under copyright law as soon as it is created, i.e. when the song is played for the first time at rehearsals or when the lyrics and melody are written down.
Has copyright on music a period of expiration?
Copyright on music lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. After that, the statute of limitations expires and it is considered to be in the public domain.
Strangers are using a self-composed song without my permission. What shall I do?
In this case, there may be a copyright infringement. It is possible to take legal action against this. Do not waste time. Contact a lawyer immediately.
What about YouTube? Can I download music for free and sell it online?
The answer is definitely NO. Illegally downloading music from YouTube and eventually selling it or using it without permission is a crime and it can be punished legally. Anyone who uploads a self-composed song on Youtube is considered to be the author. This means that the copyright law for music applies. In addition, anyone who includes other people’s music in a video may be committing a copyright infringement. Therefore, it should be checked beforehand who the author is and whether permission is necessary. A lawyer could definitely help you clarify every question you have.
Copyright infringement only occurs if I commercially exploit the music, right?
NO, that is not correct. If you use pieces of music protected by copyright law and offer them for free download on your website, this is also an infringement. If unauthorised distribution takes place, it is irrelevant whether it is of a commercial nature or not.
So, let a legal check your conditions before making the wrong move. Copyright Infringements are