Friday, November 26, 2010

Music rights, various music licensing terms

As someone who works in the music licensing business, I know that there are a lot of terms and jargon in music licensing and music copyright issues that many music users don't understand as they simply don't have that background and inside knowledge. In this article I'll try to explain what the different "Rights" in music are and what each of the terms mean.

Sync Rights: Means that you get the legal right to synchronize the music with images. In other words, to mix the music into a film or other audio-visual project.

Mechanical Rights: Means that you get the rights to manufacture physical items (such as DVD film, audio-CD) that contains the music, where the music is used as part of a film / game / presentation / project that includes the music.

Performance Rights: Means that you get the rights to broadcast the music and play it in public. Please take note that for the most part, this right is not included with royalty-free music or stock music, because most stock music and royalty-free music available today was composed by composers who are members of Performance Rights Organizations (PRO's). That means that anybody who performs that music in public or broadcasts it on TV/Radio need a license from their country's Performance Rights Organization. Of course, most broadcasters already have this license. Broadcasting corporations pay an annual fee to the PRO's. So they can broadcast the music as much as they want, and it doesn't cost them anything extra. 

Moral Rights means the composer's right to deny/reject having his music used in a project that he doesn't like. For example, advertising for alcohol, or racist projects, or whatever that particular music composer may be strongly against. In the world of stock music / royalty-free music, usually the composer has to sign away his moral rights, because it's not practical to discuss every project done by every client who buys a stock music track from every stock music site that distributes his music.

If you're interested in learning more about the differences between various types of royalty-free music and "just how royalty-free is this royalty-free music" you may want to read this article at which describes the differences between different "grades" of being royalty free.

1 comment:

  1. nice article ! you explain in simple words what I had in mind, great.

    All the best.