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Legal handbook

Everything essential you need to know about copyright
and music license.

FAQ

What is Copyright?

a) copyright is an automatic legal right, automatically granted to the author(s) or originator(s), both during its development and once the work has been finalised.

b)  The copyright owner has the following exclusive rights. They are only allowed withthe owner’s permission:               
     i.  Translate the work.                 
    ii.  Copy the work.                 
 iii. Publicly perform, transmit or broadcast the work.                 
    iv. Adapt the work.                   
  v.  In many cases, the author of a work also has the right to be identified as the author and to object to any treatment of the work which would be ‘prejudicial to his honour or reputation’ of the work (even if he is no longer the copyright owner).

c) The copyright term of creative work is the lifetime of the creator, plus seventy years. As the owner and copyright holder of this work, there's no legal requirement to register this work but if a dispute arises, you may be required to prove that the work is yours, and the date that work was created. This is where the problem can lie. Proving that you're the original creator of your work and the date of creation can be more difficult than it first seems. System dates, paper works, and times on computers can be easily changed by any novice, so this is not indisputable proof should you be challenged. 

International Copyright Protections

a) Copyright is recognised all over the world, and international conventions guarantee a minimum level of protection in most countries, the most important of which is the Berne Convention. While details of copyright law will vary between nation states, the Berne Convention lays down a common framework and agreement between nations in respect to intellectual property rights. An author from any country that is a signatory of the convention is awarded the same rights in all other countries that are signatories to theConvention as they allow their own nationals, as well as any rights granted by the Convention. The Convention also sets out a minimum duration that copyright will apply in various types of work.

b) TheWIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) provide a good summary of its three-basic principle (as shown below). All countries who sign up this treaty will be expected to abide by these important basic principles (Source : WIPO ):                 
     i.   Works originating in one of the Contracting States (that is, works the author of which is a national of such a State or works first published in such a State)must be given the same protection in each of the other Contracting States as the latter grants to the works of its own nationals (principle of"national treatment").               
 ii. Protection must not be conditional upon compliance with any formality (principle of"automatic" protection)                
   iii.  Protection is independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work (principle of "independence" of protection). If, however, aContracting State provides for a longer term of protection than the minimum prescribed by the Convention and the work ceases to be protected in the country of origin, protection may be denied once protection in the country of origin ceases. 

Common Copyright Methods and Drawbacks

a)  Postal Service (i.e. ‘The Poor Man’s Copyright) andLodging with Bank or Solicitors: Any system where you retain the evidence yourself is very weak as it provides no independent evidence, and means that a court or tribunal would only have your word that you actually placed the work in the envelope at the time of posting. If you use the postal service(sometimes called ‘poor man’s copyright’), or any commercial system which requires you to store the work yourself, there is no evidence to say that the contents have not been swapped, or that you did not seal the envelope years later. It is so easy to cast doubt on such evidence, it is considered dubious at best.

b) TraditionalWitness Registration: Because of the lack of official registry in UK, many private witness registration services arise. However, despite the nature of their professional credibility, their services do not provide a complete immunity to alterations and changes, unlike blockchain.

Supporting Evidence

You will need evidence that the work progressed over a period of time, rather than being copied from elsewhere, and this type of evidence normally takes the form of development work such as Background research, Draft versions, Rough sketches, First recordings etc. If you include your evolution of ideas work at the time of upload, you will also establish independent date and content evidence of your supporting work as additional protection, you will also have the assurance that if you lose or discard your original development work, we can provide a duplicate if it is ever required. Once your work has been upload, certified and registered, you can submit new updates and revisions anytime you want through our system, this will provide independently verifiable time-stamped evidence to prove the evolution of your work within a traceable time frame.

Certify, Register and Time-stamp Copyright Work

InUK, currently there's no official government copyright registration office to register your artistic works.

Although copyright is an automatic right of the author, if an unscrupulous third party infringes your work, proving your claim may be a difficult matter. In the past, a popular but misguided solution has been to post a copy of the work to yourself, but as it is an easy task to open and replace the contents or simply seal the envelope later, this method does not provide strong evidence in the event of a dispute. Without more substantial evidence, copyright disputes can boil down to a case of their word against yours, and if the other party has greater financial resources, reputation and lawyers it may be very difficult to get a ruling in your favour.

This is why we feel the best solution is to have the work certified, registered and securely time-stamped with our blockchain system, so that in the event of a dispute you have the best, independently verifiable, evidence of the date and content of your work.

What is music Lience

a) There are principally 2 types of copyright to consider when we talk about music copyright. The traditional ©, ‘C in a circle’ copyright, applies to the composition, musical score, lyrics, as well as any artwork or cover designs, as all of these are individually subject to copyright in their own rights, (though when you register, you can include them all in a single registration provided they have the same copyright owner(s)). The second type of copyright applies to the sound recording itself, and is signified by the ‘P in a circle’ phonogram copyright symbol.

b) If you use samples of music by other authors in your work, ensure that you get permission to use the work before you attempt to publish or sell your work. Similarly, if you use loops or samples available via sample collections etc. ensure that these are licensed as free to use, or obtain permission first.

c) If you need to get permission to use a piece of music, normally the best place to start is with the last know publisher for the work.They will certainly know how to get permission to use the work, (as they must have permission themselves), so they will certainly know who you would need to contact.

How do I protect my music?

a)  Let people know that you believe your music is protected by copyright: You should always write the international copyright symbol ©, the name of the copyright owner (i.e. the composer or any publisher to whom the copyright may have been assigned) and the year in which the work was first published (or written if not yet published) in a prominent position on the original and every copy of the work. This will put users on notice of the fact that the work may be protected by copyright but it does not of itself confer protection.

b)  Always date your work and your progress of the music from sheet to record: To prove your work was created before a certain date, and to give you stronger supporting evidence, we recommend that you register your work with us, so that you have independent, time-stamped evidence to substantiate your claim in case of a dispute. 

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