Copyright Act 1989
- Discuss how Greg can best comply with performers’ rights legislation and any related laws in Australia so as to avoid any legal disputes with any bands, now and in the future.
Many societies impose laws that aid to regulate the relationship between bands and other personalities who earn a living from the bands indirectly. In the case of Greg, he is not actively involved in the production of the sound tracks that he records, mix and sell. He instead earns from the efforts of other bands performances where he records the performances using his pro tool rigs. Greg is not considered as the owner of the copyright in his advances. He, therefore, claims no right over the production or the recording that he makes. If someone uses your copyright without permission they are said to have infringed your copyright and you may establish a claim against them. Therefore, Greg has no right to:
- Reproduce or copy the band performances
- Publish the song
- Perform the song in public
- Communicate the song to the public: such as by radio, television or Internet.
- Translate the lyrics in the recording
- Transliterate the musical work
In order for Greg to comply with performers’ rights legislations and avoid any legal disputes and conflicts with any band, he needs to respect the copyright of the performers and respect legal steps in establishing a relationship between his work and the work of the performers. This will define him as a copyright and give him the privilege by law to record, manipulate and sell his recordings (Fitzgerald and Brian 12). It will also help him avoid any legal conflicts between him and the bands and instead allow for the establishment of a fruitful relationship. Greg needs to realize that performers have the right to control the process of recording and broadcasting their music in live performances. Greg can undertake the following steps to avoid any legal tussles with the performing bands (Simpson, 17):
- checking with event organizer to get permission for live recording
- obtain a release form from the performers
- Consult with the performers manager or ensemble director
- For performance embedded in the music license legal procedures has to be followed including obtaining a copyright under the Copyright Act
- A license from APRA/AMCOS to cover recording the music.
Allowing a third party the ability to use one’s rights of copyright is called licensing of the copyright. The performers and the bands, who claim the copyrights, need to allow Greg the rights of copyright in order to realize a profitable relationship between Greg and the bands. It is legal and possible by law to license one or all of one’s rights. Greg should sign an agreement with the bands in question and establish a partnership. Through this, Greg will be entitled to rights of copyright and be able to reproduce, communicate, mix and adapt his recordings at a profit (Fitzgerald and Brian 21). With licensing Greg gains legal ownership of his recordings and his rights will be protected by the law. Once the performers give Greg the right to record their performances, the law stipulates that the performers have no further right the specific performances and, therefore, Greg cannot be prevented from using the music be it in copying, transmission and broadcasting (Simpson, 27). However, Greg also needs to identify areas where copyright law prevents him for using his recordings. He must ensure that his recordings are not, in any way, used as soundtracks for a movie, and does not exceed any limitations imposed by the performer at the moment he was granted recording permission.
Copyrights may also be assigned by donation or selling. This is where a partner decides to part with his label and sell or denotes his rights to a third party. In this case the third party gains all the rights in the work previously claimed by the member selling them. Greg can consider buying his right from the bands or in case of an opportunity, acquire his rights from a donation. This will help avoid legal disputes between Greg and the band concerning the recording, manipulating and selling of his recordings (Davison, Ann and Leanne 28).
Greg, with sufficient funds, can also consider establishing a recording label and signing with bands. In this way, he will be entitled to copyrights of his work and be protected by the law. The recording label will pay the recording costs and manage the distribution of the sound recordings. This will ensure a well structured relationship between the bands and Greg and help avoid any legal conflicts. Alternatively, Greg and the bands might consider to manage their sound recordings independently. This involves independent organization and management of the recordings for generating income. This includes registering the recordings with the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) (Davison, Ann and Leanne 18).
- Greg has recently learned that a DJ has used a sample from one of his live recordings in a track that he has recorded and mixed. Discuss whether the laws of copyright, including any relevant laws under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth.), make it necessary for the DJ to obtain Greg’s (or any other person’s) permission to use the sample.
Under the Copyright Act (Cth), it dictates that one should not copy, manipulate or publish another person’s work. Using quotes and samples from someone else’s work in your own work can be a risky business. The Copyright Act (Ath), restricts the right to publish, reproduce, perform, communicate transliterate and translate any musical work to the people who claim rights over it. One needs to get permission and license before reproducing any work lest he or she faces the risk of legal action.
Greg, after creating his records, will prescribe protection to it and establish a clear definition on how he intends to use his work. Greg, for instance, might have anticipated using his work to make money and raise more funds that will see him expand his recording into a top performing record label. He might also have insights of spreading his wok and exposing it to everyone. These intentions do bear an influence on the protection imposed on the recordings. Greg, upon learning that a DJ is reproducing his work by using a sample from his recordings, has the right by law to sue the DJ. This is since the DJ has violated the copyright laws as described by the Copyright Act (Cth).
Sampling involves incorporating a portion of a sound recording to create a remix or other unoriginal work. In order for the DJ to use any portion or sample from Greg’s recordings, he needs to seek permission from the rightful owners of the recording-Greg. The DJ should therefore:
- Contact the Licensing Department
The DJ should seek for approval and guidance from the licensing department. The department will explain the rationale concerning copyrights to the DJ and advice on channels to follow and adhere to in order to win the consent of the owner-Greg (Davison, Ann and Leanne 14).
- Seek permission from the record company, in this case Greg, to use samples from its recordings.
The DJ has to contact the record company, and trails the prescribed channels as outline by the law. The record company will explain the grounds of the DJ involvement and give related advice.
- Greg has to give his consent
Greg being the rightful owner of the reproduced work has to give his consent on whether the DJ should sample his recordings or not. Greg’s decision will be determined by the reasons behind his work: commercial basis or just want to spread his work. Greg upon listening to the DJ will make a decision for or against the involvement of the DJ in his work.
- Written agreement is drafted.
A written agreement is then composed between the DJ and Greg that clearly defines the established relationship between the two parties. This agreement delineates all the dos and don’ts of the DJ as per the Copyright Act. It bestows some rights to the DJ and he can freely reproduce and take sample from Greg’s recordings (“Music and Copyright: A Guide for Students”).
- Upon being issued the approval to use the samples, the DJ will claim a right by law to incorporate portions of Greg’s samples in his work.
When all the process is done and an agreement is on paper, the DJ will claim the right by law to reproduce samples from Greg’s recordings in his work. The agreement will guide the DJ in his practice and limit him in the manipulation of Greg’s recordings.
There are penalties allowed for copyright infringement ranging from injunctions, damages and costs to fines. These penalties range from $60,500 for individuals and $302,500 for cooperates for each infringement. The law also recommends a jail term of up to 5 years for each offence committed (Simpson, 31). Police and law enforcement agencies are also endowed with the authority to issue on-spot fines and confiscate any pirate product (Australian Law Reform Commission 7). The Copyright Act has to be respected and be trailed by any personality involved in creative work. It maintains sanity in production and identifies everyone with his or her efforts.
Australian Law Reform Commission. Copyright and the Digital Economy. Sydney: ALRC, 2013. Print.
Fitzgerald, Anne, and Brian F. Fitzgerald. Intellectual Property in Principle. Sydney: Lawbook, 2004. Print.
Davison, Mark J, Ann L. Monotti, and Leanne Wiseman. Australian Intellectual Property Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.
“Music And Copyright : A Guide For Students”. The University Of Sydney, 2016. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.
Simpson, Shane. Music Business: A Musician’s Guide to the Australian Music Industry by Top Australian Lawyers and Deal Makers. London: Omnibus Press, 2012. Print.