Author: Dr. Fodor Klaudia | 31st January 2020
My mission: I realized that there are many misconceptions about copyright that I call “copyright myths”. Therefore, I have started a copyright awareness raising campaign on social media – the English blog series is one part of it. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for the Hungarian contents (#kfodorlegal). Let’s kill copyright myths once and for all. #KillingCopyrightMyths
Any result of an intellectual work is like information. It is hard to produce, but it is easy to share. Especially today, when through clicking some buttons, the same information can reach thousands of people.
The law defines what is protected by copyright. The law defines the level of creativity that must be reached, the types of works and defines the exceptions as well. Only the law defines the circle what can be fall within this protection.
Copyright protection is a priority: it means that the right holder can prohibit others from using his works. This is practically a market monopoly covering those works.
The law defines what is the level of expectation that must be present in order to enjoy being in that prioritized circle of the copyright protected works.
Queen’s ‘I want to break free’ is in that circle of precious creations. Therefore, if we want to use the song, we need to ensure that we have appropriate license from its right holders.
We know the song, so we can sing it in the shower, with our friends, listen to it from a CD or watch the new Queen film on our television. No problem, no permission is needed here.
There is however
If we sing the song in a live show in a club, on a festival, the song is broadcasted on tv or we want to include it into our promo video and post it to the internet – well, we need the right permission to do that.
It is the law again defines what is considered as exploitation. The consideration behind it is – roughly – that exploitation is a usage that goes beyond the personal, non-commercial enjoyment of the works. But it should in each individual case be checked in the copyright act.
Ok, but why does Queen need that protection. They are probably happy with having a popular song that everyone wants to hear, aren’t they?
From an economical point of view this is the explanation why a legal protection, a restriction of access is needed.
Copyright protection muffles the work in an abstract way that is already made public, spread out all around the world. Therefore, it is called ‘protection’.
Even if we have been ‘possessing’ the referred song for 35 years, royalty must be paid on each relevant use. Why?
Because the law says so.
This is crazy, you probably think. We must pay every time we use a Queen song although it is in our head, on Youtube, on TV…? Yes, this is roughly the case, although in this blog series I will explain some nuances and the limits of copyright protection as well.
To wrap it up: The songwriter John Deacon receives royalty if his music is exploited. This probably has kept him motivated to write other amazing Queen songs that the world can enjoy. This is a win-win situation.
Dr. Klaudia Franciska Fodor is an attorney-at-law in Budapest, specialized in copyright, real estate and company law. She used to work for the Hungarian copyright organization, Society Artisjus. Don’t hesitate to contact her in civil law related legal matters in Hungary.