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.
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.
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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