Copyright and Remixing Audio
Published on 06.13.10
Last week we received a very interesting question and we thought it would be good to post the question and our lawyer’s answer publicly. Here’s how it goes:
My name is Victor (UK) and i’ve just signed up for an account at myows.com. However i’ve as a upcoming house musician/producer i’ve got a question which has been bugging me for a while:
If someone approaches me wanting to remix a song of mine, how do i go about this and what role will my copyright play in this matter? Or in a case whereby I would like to remix someone else’s original work what do i do?? If there are cost implications involved, what would i have to pay for?
And here is Steve’s answer:
Welcome on board to MYOWS and thanks for your question, it’s a good one.
If you want to let someone else remix your music, you would grant them a licence to do that. The type of licence would depend on whether you want to make some money or simply want to share your work. Check out www.creativecommons.com for some licence ideas.
If you want to use someone else’s work, the first thing you need to do is identify exactly who owns the copyright in the song. Remember that sound recording are made up of a number of elements which are protected under copyright law. Therefore, there may be a number of different copyright owners involved in one piece of work.
To make it simpler for you, there are a number of organisations in different countries that can help you find out who the copyright owner is for a particular song or music. In the UK, you could try the Music Publishers Association (MPA) (www.mpaonline.org.uk)
You usually have to pay a royalty to a collecting society when using someone else’s music, unless you can deal with the musician directly. The amount of the royalty will depend on what you want to do with the work.
As an up and coming musician/producer, you definitely want to make sure that your contribution to the remix is acknowledged. You can also stop any remixing that distorts or mutilates the integrity of your work by exercising your moral rights. Likewise, when you are using someone else’s work you should also credit them in your remix.
We hope this gives you something to work with. If you need any more help, let us know.
We asked Victor for his permission to publish both his question and our answer, as we believe it can help a good amount of people from our Copyright-savvy Creative Community. If you also have questions relating to your rights, don’t hesitate to ask them on our forum.