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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What if you decide to write a music album… and someone else decides to publish the same music you have just written? Is it just a case? Did they copied you? What does the law says about these kind of legal disputes?
The author of a music work X decides to sue the author of the song Y, because the music is alleged to be copied from the pre-existing work X. This is
This is a real case that the OLG Hamburg solved with a strong and firm tribunal decision.
The Hamburg Regional Court dismissed the case. Yes, you read that right. In fact, it is true that the X work of music own the right of protect ability, however, the composition of the Y music had minor deviations. The possibility of double creation was thus given. It could not be proved that the protectable guitar melody was taken over from the pre-existing work.
The second expert of the Court of Appeal referred to the frequent occurrence of the chord sequence (Turnaorund) and that the guitar figures could easily be derived from finger exercises. A double creation was therefore very likely.
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