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   Author  Topic: Music mixes and property rights  (Read 3499 times)
sonic
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Music mixes and property rights
« on: Jun 15th, 2006, 7:05am »
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Greetings from a newbee. I am in the recording and music production business, working with indie artists in a variety of genres. I have seen some references made on audio forums I participate on regarding the potential for a mix of a multitrack recording to a stereo master, of someone else's copyrighted composition, to have a unique set of intellectual property rights if the mix is either done on speculation, or if the client has not requested or paid for the mix. Any thoughts or insights greatly appreciated.
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JSonnabend
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Re: Music mixes and property rights
« Reply #1 on: Jun 15th, 2006, 8:49am »
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The remix might qualify for separate copyright protection, but it would almost certainly be considered a derivative work, requiring authorization from the original author.  That said, I must add one caveat: I haven't dealt directly with this issue or with music industry issues in any detail, and so it's entirely possible there exists case law, etc. on this point to contradict me.
 
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SonnabendLaw
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mactheknife
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Re: Music mixes and property rights
« Reply #2 on: Jun 15th, 2006, 9:17am »
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The C.O. will register a copyright in a remix of sounds.  However, the "remixer" has to do something creative--make adjustments to the levels, pan, etc.  If you simply take the original multitrack mix without any adjustments and mix down to a stereo mix again, I don't think there would be sufficient authorship in the actual act of mixing down.
 
For registration purposes, the C.O. will assume that the author of a remix has contributed more than de minimis authorship unless the application foolishly says otherwise.  For litigation purposes, who knows how much authorship is required.
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sonic
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Re: Music mixes and property rights
« Reply #3 on: Jun 15th, 2006, 9:34am »
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What if it's the original mix?
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Isaac
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Re: Music mixes and property rights
« Reply #4 on: Jun 15th, 2006, 10:10am »
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Just idle thoughts based on general copyright principles.  I'm not familiar with on point case law.
 
One issue with derivative works is that permission is required to make them, and when the contribution by the creator of the derivative work is not separable, someone who creates a derivative work without authorization cannot protect his work against infringement.
 
If you did an original mix on speculation, presumably that means without permission.  Also it would seem your work would not be separable in the final product.  
 
For example, if a person holding the copyright in the source material got hold of the mix, you would not have a right under copyright law to stop him from distributing the mix in those circumstances.  
 
If the client has simply not yet paid, then presumably you were given permission to create the derivative work.  In that case, the client could not distribute the derivative work without your permission.
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Isaac
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