• Tessa

The 7 Rules of Copyright Explained



Copyright is a form of intellectual property, that protects ‘‘creations of the mind’’. These rights ensure that artists, inventors, designers and creators are recognised and financially compensated for their work. It gives creators an exclusive right to use their creation however they like and forms the backbone of the entire creative industry.


There are two separate forms of music copyright:

  1. Copyright that is covering the song (composition)

  2. Copyright that is covering the recording of that song (master)

5 types of (common) copyright owners are:

  • Songwriters or composers

  • Musicians

  • Artists

  • Music Publishers

  • Record Labels

  • Collection societies

In most territories, copyright comes into effect right after your work is created. In other territories like the US, copyright has to be registered at a copyright office. For registering your copyright you need the songwriters name and year & the name of the master recording and the owner of that particular recording. Copyright lasts till 70 years after the death of a copyright holder. This applies to UK, EU and US territories.


You get paid by earning money through streaming royalties, downloaded files, sync opportunities and performances on radio or live concerts. Several parties are collecting royalties of copyrighted songs. Those parties are: PRO's, distribution companies, record labels and neighboring rights societies.


7 rules of copyright:

  1. Copyrighted work must be original

  2. Violation of laws must be established in court

  3. Master recording copyrights are administered by record labels

  4. Compositional copyrights are administered by publishers

  5. Copyright lasts 70 years past the owners lifetime

  6. Cover versions require only a mechanical license - and only in the US

  7. Other commercial use of copyrighted materials require a master license, except Dj's. They can use original downloads in their sets.

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