A decent portion of the work I have created this trimester would technically be in breach of copyright, if it were not for the fact that they were created primarily for educational purposes. In particular, would be the samples I used in the remix assignment - the audio from a track of David Bowie singing Fame (vocals only), and an excerpt from Alt J’s track Taro (about 6 seconds worth). Also, the reproduction of the song for our sound-alike assignment (In the Summertime by Thirsty Merc) and the sound in the film scene I replicated and/or adapted (The Triplets of Belleville).
Thankfully, the Australian Government’s Copyright Act (1968) specifies the “purpose of research or study” as a “fair dealing”, i.e. not constituting an infringement of copyright in works. If I were not creating these works for educational purposes, and were making monetary gain, and/or playing and performing the music publically, I would had to have sought permissions for each of these musical usages.
If I had created my remix, for example, outside of educational purposes, I would have needed to gain permission for both sampling cases because they were ‘substantial’ parts of the original works (Music Rights Australia, 2016). Music Rights Australia, in their factsheet on sampling, define ‘substantial’ as being “anything that is distinctive or essential to the work… if the section of the work you want to use is recognizable… irrespective of how small or large it is” (2016).
Going about seeking permission for use of one’s artistic creation is not a simple task, as The Australian Copyright Council explains in their “Permission: How to Get it” Factsheet:
"Unlike the systems for trademarks, patents and designs, there is no Australian registration system for copyright, so there are no official records of ownership that you can search. For this reason, you may need to use a variety of resources when looking for copyright owners. In some cases, you may need to do some detective work” (2014).
It is also made more convoluted in the fact that “there is generally more than one owner of copyright in any given song” - there is copyright in the “underlying musical work… the original tune and lyrics” and copyright in the “sound recording… the particular recording of that song” (Music Rights Australia, 2016).
In terms of seeking permission, I would had to have found the owner of the both the Sound Recording copyright and the Musical Work copyright of the music I used (Music Rights Australia, 2016).
For the Musical Work copyright, I would ensure I was not violating the original artist’s intellectual property by making contact with them through their representatives (often their publishers). As written in Part III, Division 1 of the Australian Copyright Act, one cannot reproduce, publish, perform in public, make an adaptation of, or communicate to the public, another’s work without their permission (outside of ‘fair dealing’) (Australian Government, 1968).
I would communicate my wish to use their creations, as the Australian Copyright Act gives songwriters and composers the right to control how their music is used (Australian Government, 1968). They, therefore, would have had the right to disallow my use of their music.
Music Rights Australia suggests contacting the licensing department of the record company – to obtain permission for the use of the sound recording – and the licensing department of the music publisher for permission to use the musical work. (Music Rights Australia, 2016).
In the future, with my use of others’ music outside of educational purposes, I will find ways of properly administrating this through means such as the Digital Content Guide - https://digitalcontentguide.com.au/music/ - which directs music users to works they can legally and fairly use, that will give the artists the credit and royalties they are entitled to.
I will also ensure that I fairly follow an artist’s stipulated Creative Commons license; allowing a fair exchange of intentions and compensation in using another’s creative products. Whether this be in attribution, share-alike, non-commercial or no-derivatives (Creative Commons Australia, 2016).
I think artists deserve the right to monitor how their creative products are used, especially in the public and commercial domain, so I will continue to ensure I do not allow myself to breach an artist’s copyright, through proper research, communication and ‘detective work'.
Australian Copyright Council. (September 2014). Information Sheet: “Permission: How to Get it”. Retrieved from http://www.copyright.org.au/acc_prod/ACC/Information_Sheets/Permission__How_to_Get_It.aspx
Australian Government: Federal Register of Legislation. (2016). Copyright Act 1968. Retrieved from https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2014C00291
Creative Commons Australia. (2016). Using a CC licence or licenced material. Retrieved from http://creativecommons.org.au/learn/howto
Music Rights Australia. (2016). Fact Sheets: Sampling Music. Retrieved from http://www.musicrights.com.au/fact-sheets/samplingmusic/