Copyright for Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings

Feeling overjoyed by the recognition received for your digital sound recordings? Don’t forget to protect it from reproduction, piracy or imitation

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What is a Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings?


Digital Performance Right in Sound Recording means to perform digitally in audio transmission or sound recording sectors. The digital sound recordings can be done with any composer, lyrics, and singer, which has to be copyrighted.

DPRA stands for The Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act. This law was passed in 1995 and grants an exclusive right to the copyright owners. It fears that digital technology would stand-in for the sales which take place in the physical records. It is not as extensive as the performance right for other types of copyrighted works. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), established in 1998, modified the DPRA.

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Copyright Sound Recording in India

In India, as well as globally, the intellectual property rights regime aims at securing the right of ownership over original ideas, giving authors, producers, and writers a right to reap returns from their works. In the Indian landscape of intellectual property rights, the Indian Copyright Act 1957 provides for the grant of copyrights. While no copyright can be granted for an idea, the law protects the expression or the manifestation of the idea.
Copyright can also be sought for photographs, artwork and sculpture. Musical works being expressed as a sound or a written notation of musical notes is broadly eligible for copyright. In this post, we specifically focus on how you can get a copyright for a sound recording, the benefits it bestows and documentation work that you should keep ready to expedite the process.

Protection of sound recordings under the Copyright Act

When the Digital Performance Rights was passed in the Sound Recordings Act until 1995, the rights of the holders of the copyright to sound recordings were not totally clear concerning Internet usage. Attention and concerns about record piracy and enhanced methods of duplication had given the way for the journey of the Sound Recordings Act of 1971. However, this act amended the sound recording copyright by adding the list of their work which will provide their work with the security of others not copying or reproducing the same one. The copyright owners of the sound recording were however not given the complete rights usually associated with the copyrights. While sound recordings were now provided reproduction, adaptation and distribution rights, they were earlier not granted with rights of performance.

How did music get its origin on the internet?

There are various music websites on the Internet where the users or music lovers can download music sound bytes whenever necessary. It is to be noted that, nowadays the record companies have started to put their artists' songs or music on their websites to promote their works easily and in a well-established manner. This will help them to promote their albums more efficiently. In these cases, even the recording artists have allowed their work to be published by their companies on their websites or any digital medium to advertise it. When publishing in the digital platform, there is a set of rules to be abided by both the owner and the publisher.

However, in this digital world, there are possibilities that the published works will be misused and will highly interfere with their livelihood and revenues of their recording artists. These turn out to be the unauthorized digital transmissions of sound recordings that will spoil the nature of the composition's origin. With the problem of downloading any music available on the Internet, having the copyright for the sound recordings would be much useful and therefore will protect the work from being reproduced. A strong argument could be made that the best feasible analysis for digital dissemination is as a "performance." Digital transmission of music seems to be a performance because performance is "public".

The performance is called as public only if the performance takes place somewhere that is open to the public. Public performances cover even if only a few people are available at the time, and, even if the audiences/participants do not receive the performance all at the same time. So, a file comprising digitized music that is downloaded by diverse users at different times can still be a performance. When the performance takes place in public, we call it the public performance and to be added, a device like computers, mobiles can be used to download those performances which happen in public. Yet, producing a digital announcement of music as a performance was problematic. This is because, as explained earlier, sound recordings were never given the full rights of performance. Thus, legislative or any authoritative action was required.

The Digital Performance Right in the Sound Recording Act

New clauses came in and provided the budding artists and hard-working professionals with their protection rights. It is confirmed that, in the case of sound recordings, the copyright owner holds the exclusive right to perform the work using digital audio transmission publicly. Thus, after the birth of this act, the infringement was addressed wisely and copyright took its place. You might wonder the remedies for infringement of copyrighted sound recordings downloaded from the Internet. There are acts which serve it better. The Act also took the means of incorporating the solutions or remedies for infringement. A user is not supposed to illegally download the song or the music and by doing this, he/she will have to face the consequences. Theoretically, this solution would allow the seizing of an individual's computer with authority.

In regards to that, songwriters and composers expect royalties. Even a budding artist. Whose music or song hits the digital screens, is claiming for his royalties. We are in a digitally growing world and therefore, all are striving to the success path. If you have worked hard to bring out your work, then there is no wrong in taking copyright for it. Own your work and spread it to the world legally and proudly.

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