Music piracy is now more prevalent than ever and with the ease of downloading MP3 and other file formats from pirate websites, millions of consumers are becoming involved and thus guilty of music piracy. It is killing the music industry as artists do not get their royalties due even though their music is listened to by thousands.

A music store in Australia was recently investigated by police and the owner has been found guilty of 15 copyright offences including the sale of pirated works. Australia has taken a harsh stand on music piracy and copyright infringement with penalties of up to five years imprisonment and $60 000 fines for individuals.

In South Africa the problem is even worse with pirated movies and music being sold on the streets by vendors. As long as there is support the crime will continue. If you suspect music piracy or copyright infringements of your work you should contact Intellectual Property lawyers right away.

What is eligible for Copyright protection?
Through the years, certain classes of copyright have been developed, rather artificially, to describe works eligible for copyright protection. In general, any original work made by a qualified person is eligible for copyright protection. Originality refers to the fact that the author must have created the work through the application of the author’s own creativity and labour. Mere ideas are not considered protectable by way of copyright. The author must have written down or recorded the creation in a material form for copyright to come into existence.

Literary Works (eg. novels, poems, textbooks, letters, reports, lectures, speeches)
Musical Works
Artistic Works (eg. paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs)
Cinematograph Films / Videos
Sound Recordings
Broadcasts (electromagnetic transmissions intended for reception by the public)
Programme-carrying Signals (a programme signal which passes through a satellite)
Published Editions of Books (usually the first print of a literary or musical work)
Computer Programs (instructions directing the operation of a computer)

Copyright in South Africa, like in most other countries, differs from other forms of intellectual property in that it is not a right that needs to be registered (except in the USA). Unlike patents, trade marks or registered designs, copyright vests in the author of a work once the work is created in a material form.