Copyright in music is relatively straight forward but there are a few things you should know about music copyright in South Africa. Sites like Fakaza are examples of an infringement of copyright because they don't own the music they distribute via their site nor do they have the right to distribute the music on their site.
What Is Copyright In Music?
Music essentially has two main categories of copyright, namely: copyright to the composition and copyright to the sound recording or master recording. The owner of the copyright has exclusive rights to the following:
- Mechanical Rights
These rights are given to the person who recorded the music. In South Africa CAPASSO is responsible for issuing mechanical rights. To learn about Mechanical Rights in South Africa click here.
- Performance Rights
In South Africa, there are two types of rights you are entitled to. The first one being performance royalties and the other is needletime royalties. SAMRO and SAMPRA are responsible for issuing these royalties in South Africa. To find out why you should register with SAMRO click here and to find out why you should register with SAMPRA click here.
This is the right to choose where your music is going to be available. For more info on distribution deals, click here. Fakaza is an example of a sight that infringes on copyright because they don't have the right to distribute music.
- Prepare Derivative Works (Remixes)
This is self-explanatory.
How Is Copyright Split?
Now that you have a basic understanding of copyright, I can introduce the concept of splits. Copyright is often split amongst everyone involved in the musical piece. Record labels usually take full ownership of the master recording and the composition rights are split between songwriters and producers. Songwriters and producers are given a percentage of performance rights based on their overall contribution to the song. So no matter how small your contribution, even an adlib, you are entitled to a percentage of the copyright.