Copyright owner – Who owns music copyright?

Our legal expert clarifies who the real owners of music copyright are and how they obtain the relevant copyright.

by | May 31, 2018 | Legal Notes

music copyright owner in south african law
Who is the copyright owner: scenario 1

Your band has been rehearsing a new song, it’s not yet recorded, it is just some ideas you have been jamming. Who is the copyright owner? The answer: No one.

Fine. But let’s say someone sitting in on the rehearsal is recording you on their phone. Who is the copyright owner now? Well, now some of the members of the band own the copyrights in the music, and the person who recorded the song owns the copyright in that recording. To make matters interesting, only the person who recorded your song may use that recording.

But this doesn’t make sense, right?


Who is the copyright owner: Scenario 2

You hum a nice melody and lyrics. Somebody hears you, writes it down, and records it. It was all your ideas, but now they get all the copyrights, and you left with nothing. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Have a look at this infographic to see who is the copyright owner in these scenarios. It might make more sense after having read it.


Music copyright owner in south african law
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