Monday, January 15, 2007

Notes on Copyrights

From my weekly (AM) radio segment titled "Legal Minute".

Kids who are growing up with iPods, Rhapsody and Napster often forget the original ownership of the music they download. The ownership of a musical composition is called a copyright, and that copyright exists at the moment a song is composed by its author. The musical composition is the melody of the song which may or may not include words, known as lyrics. Under the US Copyright Act, the copyright belongs to the author of the song and gives the author the exclusive right to make and publish copies of the song, make recordings of the song and perform the song in public. So, it is illegal to make an unauthorized copy of a song. There are some exceptions and they’re covered by the Audio Home Recording Act but it’s important to remember that it’s the author who holds the rights to those works. The only music that is free to everyone is music that is in the public domain. Very old songs such as religious hymns or classical music are examples of public domain works. We value art by respecting copyrights.