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The Copyright Classroom : Lesson 3 Entertainment


Miss Lee, do you think I should sing famous pop songs to get more attention in my upcoming busking performance? Hmm, performing copyright songs in public without any licence is copyright infringement! What? Do I need licences for singing it everywhere? Do all buskers on the streets get copyright licences then? Well, I do not know about them, but no enforcement doesn’t mean no copyright infringement! There are many reasons why copyright infringers are not being sued Also, only singing in the public would be copyright infringement but not when you are singing in private places, like your home! I see, but how can I get a copyright licence? Before applying for licences, you have to first identify who the copyright owners are

The ones who compose the tune and write the lyrics will own the copyright in the melody and the lyrics respectively unless they are employees or have given their copyright to someone else, say a record company Alright, after knowing who the copyright owners are, what should I do? You have to check whether the owners are represented by any collecting societies Collecting societies distribute licences of copyright works and collect royalties on copyright owners’ behalf If you are just singing the song then the Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong (CASH) is the relevant organisation as it represents authors and composers But mind you, if you are going to play any CD as background music during your performance the relevant organisation could be the Hong Kong Recording Industry Alliance (HKRIA) or the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) unless the record companies manage their own licences

Maybe I will just write the songs myself then Hi Miss Lee, good news! Our band just finished writing our latest song! Oh, can I sing your songs in my busking performance? Ermm sure? Would you mind giving credits to our band in your performance? Well, you actually enjoy moral rights, which include the right to be attributed as the author of the work! However, to be able to enforce this moral right, you need to first assert it in writing! Of course I would give credits to you guys! What are moral rights though, are they the same as copyright? Moral rights are different from copyright! For example, if you transfer the copyright of your work to others, you as the author would still keep the moral rights! Moral rights protect the creators even though they do not own the copyright anymore I see! Oh, would you mind if I add some rap elements to your songs, mainly about how pretty I am? Darren, as the author of the song, you also have the right to object to derogatory treatment of your song! It means that you can object to her treatment of the song if it amounts to distortion or is bad for your reputation! Derogatory!? That is a serious accusation

Hmm your adding of rap lyrics to our song will be inconsistent with our band’s style, I do not think my band members will be fine with that! Alright… Well, maybe I really should just write my own song…

Source: Youtube

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