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Posted by Harris on March 28, 2003 at 01:53:40:
I am a student at Univ. of Aberdeen in U.K., Like to know what U.S law says about following case-study:
You are the chief executive of Virgin Records. You’ve just signed Britney
Spears to a five-year, fifty-million pound contract. That is a lot of money,
and you need a hit song from Britney right away. Britney doesn’t write her own
music, so you need to find a really catchy song for her: something that will go
to number one, to the top of the music charts. To find this song, you call in
you best song writer, Fritz. “Fritz,” you say, “write for me a really catchy
song for Britney to record.”
Fritz goes home and tries to write a song but the melody and lyrics don’t come
to him immediately. He goes to the local pub looking for inspiration. Nothing
comes to him there. He goes for a walk around the neighbourhood. While he is
walking around, he passes by an open bathroom window. In the bathroom in the
shower is Suzanna, singing away. The song she is singing is really catchy.
Fritz thinks, “This is the song I need.” He listens to Suzanna and memorizes
the melody and some of the lyrics. Then he goes home and writes down the melody
of the song in a musical score and writes down about half of the lyrics, all
that he could remember, and then composes a couple more verses on his own.
Britney records the song and the single is a big success. You sell millions of
copies and the song is played on every radio station. Just as you lean back in
your chair to light up a cigar in celebration, Suzanna comes into your office.
She says, “You stole my song. I made up that song in the shower. I never wrote
it down anywhere, and I never recorded it, but that is my shower song. I’ve
been singing it in the shower every day for months. If you don’t pay me a
million pounds, I’m going to sue you.”
Are you worried about Suzanna suing you over the song? Why or why not?
· What rights, if any, are there in the song?
· If there are any rights in the song, how did those rights come about?
· What protection do those rights afford their owner?
Who owns them and how did they come by them?
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