Music and lyrics

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“CDPA 1988”) is the current copyright legislation in the UK. In UK copyright law, there is no copyright in a song. There is, however, copyright in the musical work (the “music”) and the literary work (the “lyrics”). Peter Oxendale is frequently consulted with regard to both musical works and literary works. Aspects of musical works can include the vocal and/or instrumental melody, counter-melody and harmony, chord sequences, structure and form, bass-lines, drum and percussion patterns and musical arrangements. Aspects of literary works can include lyrics sung to conventional melodies, rapped lyrics and chants.

Peter Oxendale has been providing advice with regard to musical and literary works for many years. Advice can take the following forms:

  • An opinion on whether the musical and/or literary work in one sound recording copies from the musical and/or literary work vested in another and whether any such act of copying amounts to infringement of copyright.
  • An opinion as to whether a new recording of a work should be considered a new arrangement or a cover of that work.
  • An opinion as to whether an arrangement of a Public or Common Domain work should be considered to be a new copyright by virtue of the input into the work by the arranger/composer.
  • An opinion as to whether music or lyrics exhibit the requisite quantum of originality to rise to the level of protectable expression.
  • An opinion as to whether a work that is yet to be released might infringe the copyright in another specific work or works. This is referred to as a “pre-emptive strike”.
  • An opinion as to whether a work that is yet to be released copies substantively from and/or infringes the copyright vested in any work in any genre of music (i.e. to compare a work with “the world”).

All of the above opinions can be given as consultancy (verbal reports) or as written reports. Written reports provided by Peter Oxendale are detailed and frequently include musical transcriptions where appropriate. In some instances, audio “A/B” files will be provided.