Intellectual property right is not a new concept. It is believed that the IPR initially has its origin link with European enlightenment. During that period people began to think that the knowledge came from the human mind working upon the senses, rather than through divine revelation, assisted by the study of ancient text. It then became possible to imagine humans as creators and hence owner of new ideas. Intellectual property or IP as it is commonly referred to, is a protection of creation of mind which has both, a moral & commercial value such as inventions, work processes, articles, blog post, case studies, books, illustrations, photos, music, logos, product and business names, taglines, slogans, movies, however this is not exhaustive1. It is a Human creation and the result of such creativity is protected by and to the extend, that comes within the statutory laws protecting such rights. Intellectual property rights do not differ from the other property rights as it allows their owner to completely benefit from his/ her product which was initially an idea that developed and solidified, they also protect such product from use of others and prevent from tampering, dealing with, without owner’s prior permission2. On such unauthorized use the owner gets the right to sue them and force them to stop and get compensated for damages.
Now according to the Australian Copyright Law, which is the main issue of the given hypothetical case study, is a feature of IPR that secures unique musical works including any additional lyrics. This incorporates new music and new forms or courses of action of existing music. According to the analysis, to get a copyright for one’s own music, it must meet some measures; one of which may be the uniqueness of the work as it must begin with the creator and should be specifying some small amount of creativity. A thought for a tune or a song that one has played on the piano however have not recorded yet can't be copyrighted. So, the music is copyrighted when it has been made and fixed in a substantial article like for example, a sound chronicle or sheet music or an audiotape for that matter. Thus the original music content if used by anyone else, the person may be subjected to pay the damages for the infringement of the rights of the owner.
The copyright law of Australia characterizes the lawfully enforceable privileges of makers of inventive and imaginative works under Australian law3. The extent of copyright in Australia is characterized in the Australian Copyright Act 1968, as amended, which applies the national law all through Australia. Since 2007, entertainers have moral rights in accounts of their work. Also the primary purpose of the copyright law as specified "...to give to the author of a creative work his just reward for the benefit he has bestowed on the community and also to encourage the making of further creative works. On the other hand, as copyright in the nature of a monopoly, the law should ensure, as far as possible, that the rights conferred are not abused and that study, research and education are not unduly hampered."4
Coming to the hypothetical case study, Rickey, who is a genius artist, gives his song the title, “Rickey, Don’t lose that number”, a song that describes the condition of him apparently losing the phone number of a beautiful girl he met before. While the title he took is an inspiration of the past childhood memories from a recording that he slightly remembers, the lyrics contains, “Oh Rickey…..blow my mind” which his girlfriend contributes and claims it to be her spontaneous creativity during the recording. Now according to the Australian Copyright Law, Copyright Act 1968, No. 63, 1968, Part III, Copyright in original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, Division 6, Recording of musical works , if there was an agreement about the assigning of music or about the title as made by the owner of that childhood record from where he got the idea for the title of his song, would be the first preferable place to look into and work out on who owns copyright over the title as well as the lyrics of the song. But here as there was no such agreement made, the already existing recordings must be looked into so as to avoid the copyright infringement repercussions. S 33(2) copyright act 1968 (cth) As if the title that Rickey has used is the essence of the musical recording, be it from way back in the past during his childhood times, he may have to face the consequences of copyright’s violation. As in case of absence of agreements, the universal rule is that the first owner of copyright in a musical lyrical work is the one who made it and recorded it in a substantial form first.
Coming to the part that Rickey wants to know about the rights that FREE may have in regard to the contributions that they were making in the recording of his song. So first of all according to the Australian Copyright Law5 if Rickey would have been the on the staff and was renting the studio of FREE as an employee then his employer would usually own copyright in works that he creates as part of his employment duties. But here Rickey was just being favoured by Neddy to use the studio for his own recordings in exchange for him letting Neddy use his picture as Neddy’s linkedin profile. So, while recording in Neddy’s studio he was just doing freelance work and therefore Neddy did not own any right over the song in context of the recording till the time the recording of the video was proposed by Neddy. The Copyright Act allows us to create an agreement with other people about who owns copyright if one creates music in collaboration with other people. It is generally a good idea to make a written agreement about ownership if you create music in collaboration with other people, as it helps to avoid misunderstanding and disputes later on.
As Neddy made an accompanying montage video and they were about to perform the same live with the dancers whose choreography was done by Neddy’s girlfriend Izzy Violet. Here when the live performance takes place, which is actually the debut of both the music and the video, whoever participates in the same is said to be a person in collaboration contributing to the live performance. So yes there could be copyright issues that could arise later in the future because the performance was a co-effort of everyone, With the live performance, comes in front the copyright issues of Izzy Violet over the choreography, the copyright issues over the video as it was featured by FREE. So yes it is essential to make an agreement regarding the same before ending up in a dispute relating to copyright issue. Without the prior agreement and clarification over the copyrights issue may lead FREE demanding not to perform the song or do business over the same without their permission even though he was the one to come up with the song and the recording on a prior basis. Therefore to avoid being restricted to use the creation by his own intellect, Rickey must enter into an agreement regarding the same with FREE.
Thus this specifies that the principle of intellectual property rights is the protection of the rights against the copying of the originality of a certain idea, be it the lyrics of a song, the choreography of the dancers performing on the song or the video featuring that song. Every original content thus created makes the owner capable of commanding rights over the particular content. The law, therefore, provides rights to the owner of the song that was used by Rickey to get an idea for the title of his song. If no one objects over the same then the lyrics thus created by Penny would demand copyright over the verses she contributed to the song. It provides copyright over the featuring video to Neddy. It provides copyrights to Izzy over the choreography she did for the live performance. And the copyright law thus made it an easy task for the creators so as to register their work first like the many copyright collecting societies like the one Australia has as Media/Com Licensing for licensing the Christian musical works and many more. Any kind of diversion from the same would lead to serious repercussions involving compensating for the damages that the people copying the original work would have to face. Thus to conserve the moral as well as the commercial value of the creativity of such artists the copyright law is provisioned.
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