Monday 27 December 2010

Music industry and copyright: can you recommend a book?

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A friend has written to ask for some guidance in terms of good reading materials. He says:
"I am writing in the hope that you will be able to recommend a practitioners' book that deals with copyright in the music industry and the various layers of rights that come with musical creations. I am interested in getting an overview of "licensing in" the rights to use music/lyrics and/or adapt them to create a new work and to get an idea what standard practice is in the industry. Any recommendation will be greatly appreciated! Many thanks in advance".
If readers have any recommendations or preferences, can they please post them below. If the jurisdiction(s) covered are not immediately apparent, can they give us a clue?


Richard McD Bridge said...

Michael Flint's little handbook of decades ago had a very good flowchart for the above.

Martin Zeilinger said...

In teaching, research, and in some work with musicians, I've found the following to be particularly useful. These texts are written with a focus on the use of existing film footage in documentary films and video; but for exactly that reason, they address issues of fair use (U.S.) and fair dealing (Canada) in ways that are highly relevant for musicians and sound artists.

Howard Knopf. "The Copyright Clearance Culture and Canadian Documentaries. A White Paper on Behalf of the Documentary Organization of Canada." Nov 2006. (available online)

Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi have compiled a study titled "Untold Stories: Creative Consequences of the Rights Clearance Culture" for the Center for Social Media that has yielded a growing section of best practices guides (

This could be paired with a book that's less practical, but which has direct focus on music: Joanna Demers, Steal This Music: How Intellectual Property Law Affects Musical Creativity, U of Georgia Press 2006.

Tobias Bednarz said...

I can recommend the following books:

Nick Kanaar and Chris Philipps, Bagehot & Kanaar on Music Business Agreements (3rd ed, Sweet & Maxwell, London 2009)

Nigel Parker, Music Business: Infrastructure, Practice and Law (Sweet & Maxwell, London 2004)

Ben Challis said...

There are a number of practical books that might help. The first I would recommend is Ann Harrison’s MUSIC THE BUSINESS (4th Ed) published by Virgin Books and ISBN 1 85227 259 7. Ann is a UK lawyer. The second is by US attorney Richard Schulenberg, LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, published by Billboard Books (Watson Guptill) ISBN 0 8230 8364 0 and finally there is MUSIC BUSINESS AGREEMENTS by Richard Bagehot and Nicholas Kanaar, both solicitors in England – published by Sweet & Maxwell ISBN 0421 62450 7 - the 2nd Edition was published in 1998 and I haven’t seen an update, but an interesting read. More generally BUYING AND CLEARING RIGHTS by Richard McCracken and Madeleine Gilbart (Blueprint, ISBN 1 85713 025 1) sets out copyright in context and the process of ‘clearing’ rights for print, broadcast and multimedia.

Ann Chaitovitz (USPTO) said...

Don Passman’s book – All You Need to Know About the Music Business -- should have what you need.

Bob Tarantino said...

For Canadian readers, I suggest Paul Sanderson's Musicians and the Law in Canada (3rd ed., 2000) as the definitive reference.

Ben Challis said...

Firstly, many thanks to Tobias for updating me on Music Business Agreements.

Another interesting and short read is An Introduction to Music Rights in Film & Television Production by
Francisco Javier Cabrera Blazquez from Iris Plus - Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory - published
May 2009, Strasbourg

John R walker said...

The New York Law School Law Reviews "d is for Digitize' whilst mainly about books in the digital age provides a lot of useful background info about copyright.