Copyright is a legal concept that grants creators and owners of original works exclusive rights to their intellectual property. In music, copyright applies to both musical compositions (the written songs, including the lyrics and melodies) and sound recordings (the physical or digital recordings of performances of those songs).
For music, the six exclusive rights granted by copyright are:
Reproduction Rights: The right to make copies of the copyrighted work. This could include physically copying a song onto a CD, or digitally copying a song into an MP3 file or a streaming platform.
Distribution Rights: The right to sell, rent, lease, or lend copies of the copyrighted work to the public. This applies whether the distribution is done physically or digitally.
Public Performance Rights: The right to perform the copyrighted work publicly. This includes live performances, as well as playing a recording of the song in a public place, or broadcasting it on radio or TV. In the digital age, this also includes streaming the music online.
Public Display Rights: The right to display the copyrighted work publicly. In terms of music, this right is less relevant as music is typically performed, not displayed. However, it could apply to displaying lyrics or sheet music.
Derivative Works Rights: The right to modify the original work to create a new one. This includes any adaptation, translation, arrangement of music, remix, or any other alteration that is based on the original copyrighted work.
Digital Transmission Rights: This is a specific right given to sound recording copyright owners to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of digital audio transmission (like internet radio, on-demand streaming services).
These rights can be transferred, sold, or licensed to others by the copyright owner, and they provide the basis for the music industry’s economic model. Copyright infringement can result in civil and even criminal penalties.
For more comprehensive information, visit the Copyright page on Wikipedia.