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What is considered copyright in music?

Copyright is music is when you use, display, or distribute or sell someone else’s work.  This work is protected by copyright for public consumption without permission or an official licence to do so.  Once your work is registered with the intellectual property office, it is protected for 70 years after your death. You can sell your copyright protection to someone else, but it is  advisable to have a contract of sale. So, what is considered copyright is music? We need to examine the UK law

Copyright is protected by UK Copyright Law

An artist’s work is protected by copyright law if it can be proven to be their original work. It must be in a tangible format that is permanent and can be recognised as the work. For example, a recording of a live performance, the original dated music, or original manuscript is a permanent original piece of work accepted by the intellectual property office. The artist must be able to provide proof that they are the originator of the work.

Who owns the rights to music?

It is possible to apply online to own the copyright your music through the international Berne Convention. However, you must do research first to establish that your music has not been created and published before you. Someone could challenge your music as a copyright infringement of their work at anytime. You may need help with this especially if you both had the same idea independently. However, if you are connected persons  and there is conflict between you about the work, seek legal advice.

How do you determine copyright infringement?

Firstly, you need to prove that the work is yours. For example, you have computer dated evidence; you have emailed the work to yourself; you have registered the work with your trade company; you have posted your work on another website; or you have published or performed your work.

Secondly, you need to access the copyrighted work and obtain evidence that it has, or is being used without your permission. The original owner of the work needs to show that a substantial amount of the work has been accessed. Then you need to determine the infringement on the original status of the work. This includes the reputation of the original work, financial gains or losses involving the copyright.

The type of Order that the Court gives for the  infringement depends on the intention of the person infringing the copyright. If the copyright infringement was done with a reckless intention or negligent conduct, the consequences for the infringers are more serious.

Can you be prosecuted if you infringe copyright in music?
  1. Yes, it can be a criminal offence. The maximum sentence is 10 years in UK for malicious or reckless copyright infringement. Rightly so, it is unlawful to copyright with intent to profit financially or to remove the status of the original creator.
  2. It is also a civil offence, and a claimant can sue you for damages. You will have to pay for financial loss and personal losses of the claimant.
  3. If you are involved in an unresolved copyright infringement legal action, your case can heard in the copyright tribunal of the intellectual property office.
  4. A legal advisor who specialises in copyright protection can help maximise your chance of stopping copyright infringement and help with settling the dispute, Contact Finest Law consultants.


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