Copyright is the engine of
Copyright is the guardian
of the most precious skill: imagination.
said George Bernard Shaw, "is the beginning of creation".
The ability to imagine is what sparks off ideas or feelings, which
might then be transformed into a painting, a novel, a new invention
or a piece of music. Copyright protects the expression of an idea;
it encourages people to 'create'.
In our daily life, from the newspaper we pick up in the morning to
a recipe for a new dish, nearly everything was created by someone.
The fact that people can own the expression of their ideas means they
can potentially earn a living by developing them.
For example if an individual comes up with a brilliant new painting
and someone else simply photographs it and starts mass-producing prints,
then the painter is much less able to make a living from his work.
The laws of copyright are designed to prevent this happening.
The expression of their ideas belongs to people as much as the car
or house or DVD player they bought. The individual's - or group's
- interest in their ideas, and compensation for their time and effort,
needs to be protected.
Music and copyright.
Copyright has existed for
a long time, and has adapted to numerous changes in technology - from
the printing press through the vinyl record to the CD, the digital
file, and the internet. But the underlying reasons for copyright remain
as important as ever. Copyright is a spur to artistic creativity,
a basis for the business of music, and a way to let people who have
a gift for writing, producing or singing to make a living doing what
they - and their fans - enjoy.
When someone creates a piece of music (or a piece of text, a graphic,
a photo, a film or anything else that is protected under copyright
laws), there is a whole system of legal rights and obligations that
comes into play. These rights and obligations outline what
someone can and can't do with the material.
For example, you can't copy a piece of work and pass it off as your
own - as any student who's been lectured on plagiarism knows. You
can't burn DVDs of a blockbuster film and sell them in a car boot
sale. You can't copy software from computer to computer, or use a
photo in an advert, or play a music video publicly, unless you have
the permission of the person or company that owns or controls the
legal rights in the work. If that person's business depends
on earning revenue from their copyright works, you might also have
to pay for the permission to use the work.
Copyright in the digital
Copyright gives the people
involved in creating music various rights over the copying, distribution,
performance and internet transmission of their music. This includes
protection for artists, composers, publishers and producers.
The rules vary slightly from
country to country, and some countries allow limited copying and performance
that is truly 'private'. However uploading music to the internet and
other indiscriminate copying and dissemination of music files is an
infringement of copyright if done without the rights owners' permission.
This is not 'private' but very public copying, especially considering
that nearly a half-billion users have instant access to material put
on the internet.
If this sort of copying and distribution continues without regard
for those people whose ideas, talent and skill led to the creation
of music, they may be simply unable to continue to create - in which
case all of us are the losers.
Support creativity - support copyright
The assistance of IFPI in
creating this article is greatly appreciated