Song / Music “cover”, Some problems to note on intellectual property


In a context of opening up to integration and more and more international exchanges, the Vietnamese music market has become dynamic with the development of a series of young musicians, new singers, performance companies and entertainment organizations. The popular song renewal or remake (also known as a “cover”) of the most favorite song also becomes “predominant”. A youngster should have a good voice, choose a famous song / music from past or present, remix and sing creatively and post it on the music service website, social networking website… It’s a quick way to enter the music field. In addition, the introduction of Chinese and Korean music and love of this music has made many Chinese and Korean music translate or write new lyrics and perform them. In music, it is not uncommon for many people to perform the same song at the same time. It is not bad to “cover” a song / music and “cover” a song / music to help the song be more widely distributed in the music market. However, “resume” does not mean that the organization or individual “cover” can do whatever they want, even for non-commercial purposes, but that “cover” a song / music must respect copyright law. of the original work and comply with the provisions of the laws.

When is a song / music protected by copyright?

A musical work (or song / music) is subject to copyright protection. According to the provisions of intellectual property laws, a musical work is a work expressed in the form of musical notes in a piece of music or other musical characters or fixed on phonograms or video recordings with or without lyrics, regardless of the l execution or non-execution. performance. Copyright in a musical work arises from the fact that the work is created and expressed in some physical form, regardless of content, quality, form, medium, language, published or unpublished. , registered or unregistered.

Thus, a song / music is protected by copyright as soon as the author composes it without copyright registration. Consequently, authors and copyright owners will have the rights prescribed by law: moral rights (the right to name the work, to affix real or pseudonyms on the work; to have real names or a pseudonym when the work is published and used; publish the work or allow others to publish the work; protect the integrity of the work, not allow third parties to modify, mutilate or distort the work work in any way whatsoever, in any form whatsoever affecting the honor and reputation of the author …) and property rights (the right to make derivative works; the public performance of works, reproduction of works; distribution, importation of original works or copies of the work; to communicate the work to the public by wire, radio, electronic information networks, or any other technical means; rent the original or copy the cinematographic work, program the computer program, etc.).

Some notes when interpreting or “covering” a song / music

According to the reality of the music market, we can divide the “cover” of a song / music into two forms as follows (i) “Cover” a song / music without making any changes to the content and tone of the work original; (ii) “Cover” the song / music but fundamentally changing the melody / lyrics of the original work or translating or writing new lyrics and re-presented based on Chinese and Korean music.

The form of “covering” a song / music without changing the content and melody of the original work is the re-presentation of the original work and the use of different alternative instruments such as guitar, piano. …. Then they will upload the covered version to music services or social media websites. This is the act of “public performance of the work” – an exclusive right of the property rights of the work granted by the regulations to the copyright holder. Accordingly, the copyright owner has the exclusive right to perform or allow others to perform the work directly or by means of sound recordings, video recordings or any other accessible technical device. to the public. When organizations and individuals exploit and use this right, they must seek permission and pay royalties and remuneration to copyright owners. Therefore, when performing “covers” and uploading “covers” to music services or social media websites, “cover” artists must obtain permission and pay royalties and fees to rights holders. author. At the same time, they must be careful not to damage the honor and reputation of the authors.

For the form of “cover” of a song / music but having a fundamental change in the melody / lyrics of the original work or the translation or writing of new lyrics and re-presented on the basis of Chinese music and Korean. This can be seen as the performance of “derivative work”, an act permitted by law. However, when making derivative works, the performer must meet certain conditions, as follows:

  • Authorization of authors, copyright holders;
  • Without prejudice to the copyright of the original works;
  • Pay royalties, remuneration and other material benefits to copyright owners.

In addition, cover works in this form will be protected by copyright in the form of derivative works of the covered work if they fully meet the conditions prescribed by law.

In addition, individuals and organizations performing a “cover” of a song / music are not required to seek permission from the authors or copyright holders and do not have to pay any remuneration, royalties. , etc. to copyright owners in certain cases, as follows:

  • Translate works into Braille or other languages ​​for the visually impaired;
  • Use for scientific research, personal teaching or representation in cultural activities, propaganda and promotion without collecting money in any form;
  • The original work has become a work of the public (after the expiration of the term of protection of the work, which is 50 years from the date of the death of the authors).

However, even when performing a “cover”, using in any case, the performer must ensure that this does not affect the normal exploitation of the song / music of the copyright holders; does not infringe the rights of the authors, copyright holders and must fully state the name of the author, origin and origin of the song / music.

Music is a creative artistic activity. Each song / music will have its own style of musicians and singers. Vietnamese music can assert its position and achieve outstanding achievements in the global music market. Respect for copyright and respect for the creativity of authors is one of the most critical factors. Before performing a “cover”, using or acting in connection with copyright in particular and intellectual property rights in general, we must determine whether our act requires the authorization of the authors, whether royalties are due. be paid to copyright owners or if intellectual property rights are infringed. We may take reasonable steps to ensure compliance and respect for the creative spirit of the authors, the efforts and money of the copyright owners, who created the works.

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