Peter Oxendale Music Services frequently provides copyright advice to advertising agencies, film and television production companies. In many cases, music is composed to a “brief” which is often in the form of a “reference track” or a “temp track”. Composers then create what is often described as a “style-alike” of the original work. “Style-alikes” are particularly dangerous in that, if the composer of the new work gets too close to the original work in musical terms, then the publisher/writer of the original work may well feel that the original work has been infringed and instigate some form of action. On the other hand, if the new work sounds nothing like the original, then the new work has a limited value as a “style-alike”.
ADVERTISING, FILMS, MEDIA & TELEVISION
Peter Oxendale Music Services has been providing advice to advertising agencies, film and television companies for many years. Advice often takes the form of:
An opinion on whether composed music infringes the copyright vested in an original work. This is usually undertaken in advance of the advert being aired to the public or the release of the film.
An opinion on whether composed music exposes the agency, film company or production house to risk and to quantify the level of risk. This is particularly important when there has been an approach to the rights’ holders in the original work.
If necessary, we will highlight contentious areas in the composed music and, if possible, will make suggestions to remedy any such areas and to minimise the risk to the client.
We also deal with matters relating to the issue of “passing off”. Although this is essentially a legal issue, we are frequently instructed to give advice from a musicological perspective.