Free Music License?

Alex Hudson home at
Tue Aug 16 09:50:23 UTC 2005

On Tue, 2005-08-16 at 10:11 +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> Andrea Glorioso <andrea at> wrote:
> > They are not "copyrights", they are "neighbouring rights" (they
> > do not, per se, impact on the right to authorize or deny copying).
> Now I'm really confused.
> So need a music file's copyright licence cover those rights at all?

I think Andrea is right and wrong. They aren't copyrights in the
literary sense, and if you look on the back of a CD or something you'll
often find that alongside the usual (C) symbol you also have the (P)
right mark. 

This is basically because performing music is radically different to,
say, compiling software - the performance itself has a creative quality,
and the performance right is supposedly attached to that aspect. The
duration of that right is only 50 years too, which is why Elvis
recordings are nearing the public domain in this country.

However, at least in the UK they are still called copyrights (sometimes
"mechanical copyright", which is hysterical). And, over here, you do
need to license those rights in order to copy and perform the work. 

> > I don't know precisely what Free Culture and Remix are doing with
> > regards to performances, any link or explanation would be good [...]
> As I understand it, they are planning to record performances
> of CC'd works and combine them in various ways. Do they need
> to license the neighbouring rights and, if so, what licences
> are suitably free?

They need to licence the (P) rights as well as the (C) rights. I've
never seen a licence which addresses those rights (some CC licences
mention performance, but I'm not sure that's good enough - I suspect in
many instances the licence isn't coming from the right person/people, to
begin with; you'd need separate licences to make sure you knew which
rights were coming from who in any case).

Plus, I *think* in this country the score, lyrics and composition of
music are all separately copyrightable. So, again, large quantities of
permission required.



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