Copyright Protection of the Music Industry
Copyright is a very important aspect of the music industry. A single music CD may incorporate a number of “works” which may be eligible for copyright protection. Considering the definitions of the works listed in the Copyright Act 98 of 1978, the most important works to consider are the following:
It is important to identify different works involved, as they may be created and owned by different persons or entities.
As it is not possible to register these types of copyrighted works in South Africa at present, these works and contributions are generally best protected by way of written copyright notices and agreements.
It is advisable that these rights are consolidated by way of licence or assignment to a single company to produce, market and distribute the musical works (CDs).
The rights and protection granted to performers under the Performer’s Protection Act are not copyright. The Act provides for the protection of a separate right which is supplementary to copyright and personality rights which are recognised under common law. For example, while copyright protection extents to the lyrics and composition of a song, the performer’s performance of the song is protected by the Act and his personality rights. The performer’s rights in no way restrict or affect the rights which are embodied in the performance and protected by copyright.
Performers are encouraged to register their names under which they perform (“stage names”) as trade marks on the Trade Marks Register.
Generally speaking, in the case of musical works, music agreements should also cover the following main rights in relation to the works and artist:
SAMRO (South African Music Rights Organisation) is a collective organisation which generally controls the right of performances of music in public, broadcasting and transmission.
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