How to Protect your Music in the UK? Know your Rights

  • Epik Music Videos
  • 13 Aug, 2013

Imagine working hard on your new song and then walking in a pub to hear someone else singing it to a room full of people...

Wouldn't you be perplexed? I know I would...That's why it's always good to know your rights to be sure about the next step when caught in a similar situation.

The Copyright Act

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) protects the interests of creatives in the UK. As such, all creative work that is literary, musical, dramatic or artistic; such as audio recordings, photographs, videos, etc. is safeguarded against illegal duplication or publication without your explicit permission.

You own copyrights to your music under different categories, for example - a song would be considered both as a musical work and a literary work, and you would have two copyrights for the music and the lyrics respectively.

What's good about the UK copyright law is that it automatically grants you copyrights to your work if it's original and recorded physically (in writing or on a CD, etc). You enjoy this privilege if you are a British citizen or a UK resident, or if your work was first published in the UK or any of the countries which have signed the Berne Convention Agreement.

What does it mean for you?

As an owner of the original material, the CDPA grants you full rights to copy the work, issue copies of it (or lend or rent) to public, display the work in public, broadcast it to public, and to adapt it for something else. You can also, through a written document (signed by both parties), grant the rights to someone else to use your work. This is called a licence agreement, and you can either fully or partially licence your work.

What it means is that no one else, other than you yourself can use your original work, unless you give them a written permission to do so. So if you see some band playing your music without your permission in public, you can record evidence and lodge a complaint with the authorities.

Also, as a composer or lyricist you enjoy the moral rights under CDPA to be identified as the creator of your work and to object to any derogatory treatment of your work under the paternity and integrity rights. Even though you can't transfer these rights to someone else, you can still wave them off.

If you work as a music arranger or editor, even your work would be protected by CDPA. Also, if there are any subsequent recordings of your work, the recording will carry a separate copyright protection owned by the producer. Similarly, if your work is published in print, then the typographical arrangement of that particular printed edition will also carry a copyright, owned by the publisher.

How long does a copyright last?

The copyrights to a musical or literary work in UK lasts for 70 years after the death of the composer or author of that work; a sound recording is protected for 50 years from the year it was recorded; and a typographical edition is protected for 25 years from the year published.

The UK copyright law is very effective in protecting your creative masterpieces from being misused, not only while you are alive, but even years after, for you to rest in peace!

For more information, follow this link: Intellectual Property Office website


Shubhit S., Epik Music Videos


Last modified on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 14:58
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