1a. Name three societies that look after royalties and licensing and describe and explain what these societies do.PRS ( Performance Right Society) is a copyright collective.
It’s a society for songwriters, composers and music publishers to license their musical compositions and lyrics. PRS pay their members when their music has been performed live, been used in film and tv, broadcasted, downloaded, streamed and played in public (PRS for music, 2017). MCPS (Mechanical copyright protection) is another society for songwriters, composers and music publishers who collaborate with PRS. MCPS are responsible for their members mechanical rights (sound recordings) when their music is reproduced as a physical product such as CDs, DVDs, digital downloads and videos and also featured in films and TV commercials. (PRS for music, 2017). PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) is also a licensing company like PRS, but instead of representing songwriters, composers and music publishers, PPL collects and pay royalties to the performer and the record company members.
(PPL, 2017).1b. Why are the above sociaties so important for the music industry? Licensing is necessary for keeping the process between music makers and music users simple and straightforward for both parties. If these societies didn’t exist businesses would have to contact each and every songwriter, composer and music publisher themselves to ask for permission to play their music. This would also mean that the composers and music publishers themselves would have to deal with a lot of requests from different businesses. (PRS for music, 2017).Through these societies the composers and publishers can keep track of where and when their music is performed or played in public. To make sure that the royalties will be paid to the right people all music needs to be registered and available somewhere.
For example when a song is played on Spotify, Spotify must pay PRS for their use of it. PRS then distributes the correct amount of royalties to each songwriter, publisher and composer. Every business will need to have a PPL license if they are going to play recorded music. Otherwise they are infringing copyrights. (PRS for music, 2017).
2. Give an example of a copyright infringement case and describing, explaining and critically commenting on it George Harrisons song “My Sweet Lord” was released in 1970 and became number one on the charts in over sixteen countries.This song was a great start to his solo career although it turned out that My Sweet Lord was proved to be very similar to “He’s So Fine” by the American girl group The Chiffons.Only a couple months after its release, Harrison was sued by the publisher of “He’s so fine” for copyright infringement.
In Harrisons biography I, Me, Mine he says: “I wasn’t consciously aware of the similarity between ‘He’s so fine’ and ‘ My Sweet Lord’ when I wrote the song, as it was more improvised and not so fixed” (I, Me, Mine, 1980). The judge in this case said that it was obvious that the songs were almost identical however he said that he didn’t think that Harrison counsiously copied “He’s so fine”. Harrison claimed that since he heard the Chiffons song for the first time his “subconcious knew the combination of chords in the song” (I, Me, Mine, 1980). The law process became one of the longest in the history. It wasn’t completed until twenty-seven years later.
It ended up with that Harrison had to pay compensation to Ronnie Mack’s right holder. The songwriter of “He’s so fine”. (Ultimate classic rock, 2016).In my opinion there is definitely similarities between “My Sweet Lord” and “He’s so fine” in terms of the chords and melodies, but I don’t believe that Harrison intentionally plagiarized “He’s so fine”. In fact I think that every songwriter often borrow parts and ideas from other songs without really realizing it.
I believe that as long as music keeps growing in different genres, someone is always bound to use the same chords and words as someone else without knowing it. Although even if Harrison wasn’t fully aware that he had copied “He’s so fine”, it is still an infringement of copyright which means that I still think it is right that he had to pay compensation to the songwriter of “He’s so fine”.3. What would the music industry look like without licensing and royalties? Compare the UK to other parts of the world that have more relaxed or non-excisting copyright.An industry without licencing and royalties would basically mean that no one would get paid and In that case I do not think that the industry would be this big.Clearly people would eventually stop creating music if they would not get paid or credit for the work they have done.
Songwriters, composers or publishers for example are all proffesions which means that they have the same right as anyone else with another profession to get paid and credit for the work they have done. “Music wouldn’t exist without the work of songwriters, composers and publishers. We’re here to represent them and ensure that they are rewarded for their creations.” (PRS for music, 2017). Without licensing and royalties I also believe that music piracy would increase.
If the music is not registered anywhere it would mean that anyone could copy and distribute of copies of a piece of work for which the composer, artist or whoever is the copyright holder, did not give consent. Without copyright and licensing it would be impossible to find out who would be paid when and for what. The copyright system in Brazil looks a bit different than what it does in big part of Europe for example. In Brazil it runs by ECAD, which collects all royalties from exercise, mechanical and related rights and then distribute it to the relevant author and then these communities distribute royalties to their members. ECAD has showed some flaws in the distribution of collections so Brazil decided to start an investigation that later revealed errors far from ECADs legal rights.To help them solve conflicts and problems between artists and collective societies they created IBDA which is suppose to act as an intermediary.This new licensing concept gave the author more control over their work.
The law also allows a person who owns an album to create copies of it for personal use without permission. Underclared work can also be reproduced for non-commercial purposes without permisson. As broadband and mobile sevices rises, the worry about illegal file sharing also increases. Another change that was proposed regarding the music market is that if you’re playing songs through payment or other favors it will be considered a “violation of the economic order and the right to free culture”. PRS in the UK does have an Anti- piracy Unit to protect the copyright of PRS members.
They can help you investigate copyright violations and, when necessary, also take legal action (The music business journal, 2010).