Licensing and royalties
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
collaborates with PRS. MCPS are responsible for their members mechanical rights
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
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 did not 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. In order to be able to play recorded music, every business will need
to have a PPL license to avoid infringing copyrights (PRS for music, 2017).
2. Give an example of a copyright
infringement case and describing, explaining and critically commenting on it
Harrisons song “My Sweet Lord” was released in 1970 and became number one on
the charts in over sixteen countries.
a brilliant start to his solo career with this song, although My Sweet Lord
proved to be very similar to “He’s So Fine” by the American girl group The
a few months after its release, Harrison was sued for copyright infringement by
Bright Tunes Music, the publisher of “He’s so fine” on behalf of the songwriter
Harrisons biography 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 said that it was obvious
that the two songs were virtually identical, however he was convicted that
Harrison did not copy the melody counsiously. Harrison conceded that since he
had heard “He’s so fine” his subconscious knew the combination of chords in the
The law process became one of the most elaborate in
history. Twenty-seven years later, it was definitely completed. Harrison had to
pay compensation to Ronnie Mack’s rights holder (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, however
I do not 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 realizing it. I believe that as music keeps growing in different
genres, someone is bound to use the same chords and words as someone else
without knowing it.
Although even if he did not do copy it deliberately,
it is still under the law infringement of copyright.
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.
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.
people would eventually stop creating music if they would not get paid or
credit for the work they have done.
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).
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
copyright system in Brazil is administered by ECAD, which is responsible for
collecting all royalties from exercise, mechanical and related rights and then
distribute to the relevant authors. These communities then distribute royalties
to their members.
has not shown accuracy in the distribution of collections and an investigation
revealed errors far from ECADs legal rights. They created IBDA to act as an
intermediary between artists and collective societies by helping them dispute
new law clarifies the licensing concept to give the author more control over
their work. It will also allow a person who owns an album to create copies of
it for personal use without permission. Underclared work can also be reproduced
without the permission for non-commercial purposes.The rising of broadband and
mobile services increases the worry about illegal file sharing.
change proposed regarding the music market is that the playing of songs through
payment or favors will be considered a “violation of the economic order and the
right to free culture”.
in the UK does have an Anti- piracy Unit to protect the copyright of PRS
members. They help you investigate copyright violations and, when necessary,
take legal action (The music business journal, 2010).
PRS for music, 2017.
PRS and MCPS (Online) Available at: https://prsformusic.com/what-we-do/prs-and-mcps (Accessed: November 26, 2017)
PPL, 2017. PPL and PRS
for music (online) Available at: http://www.ppluk.com/I-Play-Music/PPL-and-PRS-for-Music-/ (Accessed: November 26, 2017)
UK government, 2017.
Licence to play background music (PPL) (online) Available at: https://www.gov.uk/licence-to-play-background-music-ppl (Accessed: December 6, 2017)
PRS for music, 2017.
Licensing music (online) Available at: https://prsformusic.com/what-we-do/licensing-music (Accessed: December 6, 2017)
Harrison George, 1980.
I, Me, Mine (Genesis publications)
The music business
journal, 2010. A far reaching copyright change in Brazil (online) Available at:
http://www.thembj.org/2010/10/a-far-reaching-copyright-change-in-brazil/ (Accessed: December 6, 2017)
Ultimate classic rock, 2016. 40 years ago: George Harrison found guilty
of ‘My sweet Lord’ plagiarism (online) Available at: http://ultimateclassicrock.com/george-harrison-my-sweet-lord-plagiarism/ (Accessed: December 6, 2017)