Marco Bagni – Copyright Film

May 5, 2017
by OJ Shabi

What is music Copyright?  Well we know about it as we deal with that sort of thing all the time, however we realise that it might get a bit confusing for others.  That’s why we wanted to share this super simple video guide from animator Marco Bagni and directors Bartolomeo Meletti and Ruth Towse.  We thought it was a great way to show the process from the creation of a song and then going through process of recording, publishing, promotion and releasing of the song.

In the film we learn how when a song is created and recorded it is protected by copyright and by being copyrighted means that authors can control the use of their work.  Songs can consist of melody and lyrics and these two have two separate copyrights which protect the music.

Luckily copyright ensures that if anyone wants to distribute, copy, rent, perform, using the song on the internet or making any adaptation they first need to get permission from the author.  This protection is ‘activated’ as soon as the song is recorded.

When artists want to find a wider audience and make money from their song have to decide whether to self-release or to find a publishing deal.  If you decide to do the latter then you will have to transfer the copyright of the song to the music publisher or record label. In return, they receive a share in profits from the song in form or royalties and perhaps even an advance payment against future royalties.

If the record labels is responsible for the production and distribution of the song then they will be the owner of the copyright as they have paid for it.

As with most things in life there are pros and cons – record companies and music publishers can offer creators access to support, specialist expertise and financial backing that otherwise might not be available to the artists. However, artists must be aware that, until any advance payment and other costs such as recording and promotional expenses are paid back or ‘recouped’, they will not receive income from the copyright they have assigned or licensed in the deal.

But where record and publishing deals were once seen as essential, in the Digital Age, technology has made it far easier for creators to release their own songs and recordings.  In the digital age many costs involved in recording and marketing music have been reduced by the availability of affordable, accessible technologies. In fact, most artists today choose to self release to retain full control of the economic rights in the song and in the recording rather than sharing them with a third party such as a music publisher or record label.

What is far more certain is that without a sizable audience it is unlikely that artists will be able to make a living from the copyright in their music. In this context, it is important to remember that the vast majority of new creators that achieve mainstream commercial success are contracted to record companies and music publishers.

It’s not always easy to have the opportunity to have a song released or published as who invest, also need to find good reasons.  Self releasing a song and doing some initial promotion can also attract labels and publishers that can offer an opportunity for artists in their development to achieve exposure and success.


Directed by Bartolomeo Meletti and Ruth Towse, Art Direction & Animation: Marco Bagni, Storyboard & Illustrations: Sophie Natta, Copyright Advisor: Ronan Deazley, Production: Worth Knowing Productions Ltd, Original Song: Twists And Turns, Composers: Barrie Gledden / Kes Loy / Richard Kimmings, Performers: Kes Loy (Ben) and Lucy Kimmings (Tina), Sound Design: Sarc:o

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