Copyright in music for Authors and Artists

Often we hear such questions: “Can I take 2 lines from the Scorpions song (for example) and use it in my song?” Usually, we recommend such people sign up for a consultation in order to explain in detail why it is impossible, because if a person believes that a chance for such use is possible, then his literacy in the field of intellectual property is questioned.

авторское право в музыкеWhat is copyright?

First of all, it is necessary to clarify that copyright in Ukraine is protected by such documents as: the Constitution of Ukraine, the Civil Code of Ukraine, the Berne Convention on the Protection of Literary Works, other international treaties, as well as special acts, for example, the Law of Ukraine “On Copyright and Related Rights.” For example, article 8 of the Law indicates copyright objects, and article 441 of the Civil Code indicates the ways in which created works can be used.

However, none of the above gives a specific designation to the term “copyright”. The Law of Ukraine “On Copyright and Related Rights” gives a designation only to copyright objects, subjects and other things related to copyright. But on the basis of all the above documents, we can conclude that:

Copyright is an institution in intellectual property law that regulates all rights that arise with the creation and use of copyright objects, and grants protection to such objects

What rights does the musician have?

All authors, regardless of profession, have 2 types of rights when creating a work: property and personal non-property.

Personal non-property rights include:

  1. The right to recognize a person as a creator (author, executor, etc.) of a copyright object;
  2. The right to prevent any infringement (on its copyrights) capable of damaging the honor or reputation of the creator of the copyright object;
  3. The right to demand the indication of one’s name in connection with the use of the work, if practicable;
  4. The right to prohibit the indication of one’s name in connection with the use of the work;
  5. The right to choose a pseudonym in connection with the use of the work;
  6. Right to inviolability of the work.

It is very important that such rights cannot be transferred and do not depend on property rights.

Property rights include:

  1. The right to reproduce, i.e. to make one or more copies of a work or part thereof in any material form
  2. The right to distribute copies of the work in any way (sell, rent, etc.).
  3. Right to public performance of the work.
  4. Broadcast rights.
  5. Right to transfer.
  6. Right to processing (arrangement, processing, etc.).

This list of rights is not exhaustive.

защита авторских правHow do I protect my product?

All authors must understand that copyright arises from the moment of material creation of the work. For the musician – since the creation of the melody in the form of notes.
In case of violation of your rights, which we indicated above, you can, based on your drafts, judicially assert your rights. But what is the guarantee that these drafts you did not take away from another person? None.

Therefore, we recommend that you always protect your work using copyright registration. It is the certificate of protection of a particular work that will be the most convincing document during the protection of its content.

In addition, the copyright registration certificate is valid in all countries participating in the Berne Convention, which gives you additional conditions for protecting your content abroad.


How do I allow others to use your content?

For example, you need to publish your piece of music. In this case, you need to allow third parties to use your product. Therefore, it is worth concluding a license agreement in which it is worth stipulating how the rights, term, procedure and payment are transferred.

What about the performance or recording of the phonogram?

It is important to understand that you should also conclude separate contracts with the performer or person who will record the phonogram. In the case of the performer, an agreement with the author will be needed. It is important to understand that the performer will have related rights to his performance in relation to the future work, which, if necessary, will also have to be taken from him through the contract (buy, or indicate in the first contract that all rights related to the performance are transferred to you).

With recording phonograms, it will be a little more difficult for someone who records this very phonogram. He must conclude an agreement with both the musician and the performer, and such agreements must take into account both the conditions for creating the phonogram itself and its further distribution.

Term of protection of the law

The legislation of Ukraine provides for the protection of copyright all the life of the author and 70 years after his death; related rights for 50 years after the first record and first performance.