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What is Worth Copying is Worth Protecting

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Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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We are often asked as to whether a sound recording is protected by the laws of copyright. The 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents Act can answer this question. While it does not have an exact definition as to sound recordings, it is an infringement of the copyright in a sound recording where you copy or record a substantial part of it ss.16(1)(a), 17(1), s.16(3)(a). This can be done either directly or indirectly s.16(3)(b)

What is protected by the copyright in a sound recording is the particular recording of sounds on the sound carrier. Sound recording means: (a) a recording of sounds, from which the sounds may be reproduced, or (b) a recording of the whole or any part of a literary, dramatic or musical work, from which sounds reproducing the work or part may be produced

The copyright in a sound recording is therefore infringed by making a copy of those sounds, directly or indirectly, from that recording but not by making a new recording of identical or similar sounds independently, for example by recording a new performance by musicians of the same music.

The problem we often have is what is a substantial part. The issue of what amounts to a substantial part of a sound recording now frequently arises because of the practice of sampling, that is, the process of taking a small part of a recording and repeating it, together with other material, to form a new recording. The problem is a difficult one because a very small and musically unexceptional part of a recording of a popular piece of music may yet be instantly recognisable. Indeed, this is usually the very reason why the part has been taken and, by the repeated use of the extract, the defendant draws on the popularity of the claimants work to attract the public for his own benefit. It is suggested that this is an appropriate occasion for the application of the rule of thumb that what is worth copying is worth protecting.

Michael Coyle is a solicitor advocate who specialises in information technology law and intellectual property law.


About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-05-11 18:44:11 in Legal Articles

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