• Startups
  • June 17, 2020

Think You Know About Copyright?


Try Your Luck With LawBite's Fun Copyright Quiz!

For some questions the answer is a simple “yes” or “no”, but you will only score points if you select the correct reason for your answer. Assume in every case that no contract has been concluded because, as we know, contracts can change everything. There are no trick questions. Good luck- the answers right at the bottom- no peeking!       
1 Which one of the following organisations is genuine?
A The Copyright Registry B The Educational Recording Agency C The Copyright Registration Agency   

2 Before you can claim ownership of copyright, which of the following must you do?
A Record the work in a material form (eg write it down, or record it)
B Register the work at the appropriate Government Registry
C Mail it in a sealed recorded delivery envelope to yourself, or your solicitor    

3 You are commissioned by an independent TV production company to write the theme for their new series, to be broadcast by the BBC. Who owns copyright in the music?

A The independent producer - because they commissioned its creation
B The BBC - because they have paid for the first right to broadcast it
C You - because you wrote it   

4 You are commissioned by a broadcaster to compose an arrangement of a well-known TV theme tune. Who owns copyright in the arrangement?
A You - because you wrote it
B The broadcaster - because they commissioned it
C The composer of the original theme tune   

5 You wish to release an album including your own recording of your arrangement. Whose consent do you need?
A No-one’s - you can do what you like with your own copyright
B The broadcaster’s - because they commissioned the arrangement
C The original composer’s - or whoever now owns copyright in the original theme tune   

6 Your drunken award acceptance speech is recorded by the BBC and broadcast on television. A rival makes a copy of the broadcast and samples it all over his new single “Big D*ck Head”. Can you stop him?
A No - there is no copyright in your speech, because it was never written down
B Yes - you own copyright in your speech, though the BBC owns the recording of it
C Yes - but only if the BBC joins in the action as well   

7 You hear a melody on the radio which sounds familiar. You hunt through your old demo tapes. You find that you recorded the identical melody 3 years ago on one of your own songs, which was never played outside your studio. Can you claim a share of the new song?

A No - the writer of the “new” melody could not have copied your melody because he could never have heard it
B Yes - If the melody is identical or very similar, you can claim a share of the “new” copyright
C Maybe - provided you can prove that your melody was written before the new one   

8 You record a demo using tape supplied by the studio as part of its package. The studio owner refuses to hand over the tape until you pay for the session. May he do this?
A No - the tape belongs to you because you wrote the song recorded on it
B No - the tape belongs to you because your performance is recorded on it
C Yes - the tape belongs to him until you pay for it   

9 The studio owner threatens that if you do not pay for the session he will cover his costs by releasing the song on the tape as a single. May he do this?
A Yes - because he owns the tape
B No - because he does not own the tape
C No - because although he owns the tape, he does not own the recording made on it   

10 Your producer finally gets the tape from the studio owner, but he refuses to give it to you. He says he owns copyright in the sound recording because he “made the arrangements necessary for the recording to take place”. Is this correct?
A Yes - copyright in a sound recording belongs to the producer
B No - there is no written agreement for the producer to receive a share of copyright
C No - he did not write the song recorded on the tape   

11 The song was largely written by the band in the studio, though the singer wrote all the lyrics. He claims a 50% share of copyright in the song for writing the lyrics, plus an equal share of copyright in the music. Is this reasonable?
A No - he should get an equal share of the whole song as a song copyright cannot be split into lyrics and music
B Yes - music and lyrics are two separate copyrights
C Yes - the singer is always entitled to songwriting royalties for the lyrics he sings   

12 The drummer is also claiming an equal share of royalties for his contribution to the music. Is this reasonable?
A Yes - provided he was present when the song was written he is entitled to a share
B No - there is no copyright in drum beats so he never has a right to a share
C Yes - provided his drumming contributed to the musical development of the song 

13 In the pub, after a long discussion, the band members all agree that to avoid future disputes you will split copyright in all your songs equally among all members of the band. Is such an agreement legally enforceable?
A No - because it is not in writing
B Yes - but the songwriters will have to sign written copyright assignments to the other band members
C Yes - the word of mouth agreement effectively transfers ownership of copyright in all songs to all band members in equal shares   

14 Last year, your manager’s secretary gave your singer a poem, which he later told you he had written. You have since recorded a major hit song using the poem as lyrics. Your manager’s secretary now wants a share of the songwriting royalties. Is she entitled to this?
A No - the words were not written as song lyrics but as a poem
B No - the secretary registered her claim to copyright after the song was released and you would not have released it had you known of her claim
C Yes - she is the true author of the words which were used in the song   

15 Your manager asks to be registered at PRS as co-writer of your songs as security for his commission. Is this arrangement lawful?
A No - it is fraud for the manager to be registered as a co-writer unless he has actually co-written your songs
B Yes - but it may be impossible to reverse the arrangement if you and your manager later split up
C Yes - the arrangement will automatically end when you no longer have to pay commission to your manager   

16 Your manager suggests that instead of registering him as co-writer, you simply ask PRS to pay him an agreed share of your royalties on certain songs directly. Will this work?

A No - PRS will only pay each registered writer’s share to a single person
B Yes - you may instruct PRS to pay anyone a share of your PRS income
C Yes - provided that you pay him the same share of royalties on each of your songs By Nigel Parker - Intellectual Property LawBrief Nigel Parker’s book where a version of the quiz appears: “Music Business” published by Thomson Sweet and Maxwell   Journey further...
ANSWERS: 1,B; 2,A; 3,C; 4,A; 5,C; 6,B; 7,A; 8,C; 9,C; 10,A; 11,B ; 12,C; 13,B; 14,C; 15,B; 16,A.

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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