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Good music gone Wrong?

64 IvanChandlerIn tune with Ivan Chandler of Musicalities.

Music is everywhere and apart from the traditional methods such as radio, television, film, home and in-car stereo systems, we can listen via YouTube, mobile phones, iPods, iPads, iTunes, Mp3 players and websites including Spotify, Jango and Grooveshark.


Given the omnipresence of music people assume, often as a result of 'free' downloads sites, that music is 'free'. Music is free to listen to, but it is not free to use.

Music copyright is governed in the UK under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 providing copyright owners the right to say yes or no to their creative work being used commercially or otherwise, and usually for a fee or other consideration. Legislation in other countries varies but the rules are similar.

With more and more creators of music wishing to know how to 'copyright' their work, protect their rights, promote their rights protect income and generally secure their intellectual property, the relevant information needs to be readily and easily accessible.


The Performing Right Society (PRS for Music) represents the interests of music publishers and songwriters in the UK and, through reciprocal arrangements with similar societies overseas, controls domestically the public performance and broadcast of most of the world's music.


As such, there should not be a problem in finding out relevant information, but, initially, one needs to ask the right questions.
What happens if I write a song? How do I 'copyright' it?


How can I earn royalties and what do I charge if someone wants to perform my song?


What if I write a song with someone else, can they do with their contribution whatever they like without asking me first?
What happens if I spend money in a studio and then the singer, who I paid to sing the songs, sells the tracks via a website or digital music distributor?


It would be good to hear from readers with any questions with a view to setting up a forum with BluePencil and Musicalities.

In the meantime, all the above - and much more - can be answered in one or more of the Music Copyright Seminars jointly run by the BluePencilSet and Musicalities Ltd, one of the UK's leading music copyright consultancies.

Julian Wilkins

Julian Wilkins is Editorial Director for Blue Pencil Media Limited. Julian has a LLB (Hons) in law and M.Phil in law as well as a Diploma in European law and was admitted as a solicitor in 1988; he practices in the area of media, entertainment, and intellectual property law as a consultant for Devereaux Solicitors in London. Julian is also a Notary Public and CEDR accredited commercial mediator. Julian has written for academic publications and contributed to an Exhibition Catalogue about 1960s photographer Philip Townsend. Julian is a member of the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers and also the British Institute of International and Comparative law. Julian is a finalist in The Media Lunch Club “Short Circuit” script competition to be held in November 2011. Julian’s comments “The rapidly changing world economy and technology is presenting incredible opportunities for the Creative Industries and Blue Pencil hopes to reflect and contribute to these changes.”

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