Can you imagine creating a whole body of artistic projects and being prohibited of reproducing it? That’s exactly what is happening with the singer Taylor Swift, all because of a conflict related to copyrights.
It is known that there are two types of copyrights on the American system: the first, the musical work copyright, that is basically the musical composition – covering underlying music and lyrics of a song – and the sound recording copyrights, that covers the actual recording of a song, also known as a master recording of a musical composition.
While the singer is the owner of the musical work copyrights of her first six albums, Big Machine, her last record label, is the owner of the sound recording copyrights, which means that there are certain limits to the singer’s rights on the soundtracks.
The Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Act itself relates to that, providing exclusive rights to the owner of the copyright:
“Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following (…)
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.”
Analyzing the Law, it is clear that the record label, as said by the 6th item above, is responsible for the authorization for Taylor Swift to perform the soundtracks of her first six albums publicly by means of a digital audio transmission, which can definitely difficult the singers’ events and decisions on her songs.
The Record Label also receives a part of the soundtracks’ streaming profits.
Taylor Swift is now rerecording her oldest songs as new masters in order to have full rights on the soundtracks.
This case shows how important it is to know and protect every aspect of the copyright.
Author: Maria Luiza Barros da Silveira, Junior Associate at Peduti Advogados.
“If you want to learn more about this topic, contact the author or the managing partner, Dr. Cesar Peduti Filho.”
“Se quiser saber mais sobre este tema, contate o autor ou o Dr. Cesar Peduti Filho.”