Copyright in Music and Lyrics (AITB)

A basic run down of copyright as it applies to musicians and lyric writers.Copyright is a bundle of legal rights which artists own in relation to their creative work. Copyright gives the artist rights to control how other people can use their creative work.The copyright owner can control who can copy their work and how it can be used. The copyright owner can permit or refuse permission to other people who want to do these things.Copyright exists immediately. One not need to register to get copyright.Works protected by copyright include song lyrics and music. Music might be a composition for an orchestra, rap music or music for a traditional instrument like a yidaki or didgeridoo.Other subject matter protected by copyright includes sound recordings. It might be a sound recording of a live performance or one made in a recording studio.Copyright only protects music and lyrics which if they have been written down or recorded somehow. It does not protect ideas or styles. For example, it does not protect ways of making music such as using clapping sticks. Copyright does not prevent another band from copying your ‘sound’ if they do not copy your music or lyrics.If someone wants to perform your songs or record them, they are using your copyright and need your permission. You can give them a licence to perform or record your music. If you register your songs with APRA, it will help collect royalties from people who play your music.Copyright doesn’t usually protect traditional Indigenous music or lyrics. For example, copyright would not protect a song which had been passed down through many generations of a particular language group.

Copyright generally belongs to the person who composed the music or came up with the lyrics. Sometimes two or more people can own copyright together. For example, three band members might all have collaborated to write a song. A different person might write the lyrics.If you write music or lyrics as part of your job, your employer (e.g. the business owner or government) may own the copyright. This means they can perform and record it and earn royalties from it without your permission.If you do not want your employer to own copyright, you must meet with them before you start creating. Together you can agree that you should own copyright or how it can be shared with your employer.Usually, the person who makes the sound recording (the person who operates the recording equipment) and the performers will own the copyright in the sound recording together. That means that different people can own the copyright in the song and in the sound recording.If you pay someone to make a sound recording or pay musicians to perform for the purpose of making a sound recording, then they will not own any copyright in the sound recording. The person paying will be the copyright owner. For example, if you perform your own music and pay a studio to record it, you own the copyright in the sound recording. If the studio offers to record the song for free, it will own the copyright unless you have made an agreement with them in writing that the copyright is yours. You should put this on your work – on your sheet music, on the CD cover and any webpage where your music can be downloaded or listened to. You do not have to do this. But it’s a good idea.Always keep a record of your work to show that you made it.A musician can only sell or give away their copyright in a written document which they sign. If you want the copyright in a sound recording of your work made by someone else, and you didn’t pay them to make the recording, you need to get them to sign a written document giving you the copyright.On the other hand, it is very easy for a copyright owner to give permission to someone else to use their copyright. That might happen in an email or in a conversation so you should be very careful in any discussions about how your work is going to be used. Any permission to use your copyright should be in a written agreement that you understand and on terms you agree are fair (including payment).If someone copies music or makes a sound recording of a song without the copyright owner’s permission, this might be an infringement of copyright. The copyright owner can take legal action to stop this. Court cases can be about one musician using several bars from another musician’s song in their own song or using a sound recording as the soundtrack for a film without the musician agreeing. If you think someone has copied your music or used your sound recordings without your permission, you should speak to a lawyer about the chances of success.However there are some uses of music and sound recordings which are permitted even if there has been no contact with the copyright owner. APRA/AMCOS manage a system of licences and collect money for musicians when their songs are used. For example, APRA/AMCOS collect licence fees when a musician’s songs are covered by another band or played on radio.Universities and schools are permitted to copy your work without asking you if it is to be used for an educational purpose but they must pay a fee. Those fees are collected and distributed to artists by collecting societies. .opyright in music and lyrics generally lasts for the life of the artist plus another 70 years.Copyright in a sound recording lasts for 70 years from the end of the year when the sound recording was first released.Up until 2005, the law in Australia protected copyright of works for 50 years after an author’s death.  In 2005 it was changed to 70 years in line with US and European laws. However this change did not apply retrospectively, meaning that any works which had already passed the 50 year period did not automatically get an extension as the copyright had already lapsed.For example – if a musician died prior to 1 Jan 1955 any works they published in their lifetime are now out of copyright because the 50 years had already elapsed by the time the change was introduced on 1 Jan 2005.When you pass away, your copyright goes to whoever inherits your estate. You can make a will that says who gets the copyright in your music and sound recordings.



.The discussion was held as the concert art like musical extravaganzas are more common in states of Australia than in native Sri Lanka which is a so ethical for migrants to enjoy patronising them to relieve their daily pressures. The name Ceymusic is very famous and heard in you tube, social media, musical field as the Ceymusic institution is endeavouring to a great extent to bring redress to many musicians and lyricists who have been totally neglected in terms of copyright music and lyrics. The concept of Ceymusic had begun around year 2020- or so the reason been when Kalindu Weerasinghe has had a discussion with the leader of the Vayu musical group Sangeeth Wijesuriya having met Ranura Perera who is vastly competent in IT technology. At a discussion it had been suggested how an income could be generated for our musicians and lyricists for their creations similar to their counterparts in developed countries. It was suggested how his father’s massive number of songs songs could be handled and managed through the digital platforms. With Ranura, Kalindu had been working with  for two or more years on this subject. On working with Ranura , Kalindu had got confidence on him coming to a conclusion how an income could be generated to our musicians and lyricists. The main reason was focusing on father’s songs as if for example out of five hundred  song invariably for four hundred songs he had been the musician responsible for the music creation.In this scenario it was the view of why an income could not be received for musicians and lyricists in Sri Lanka sans a proper system .This is the reason why Ceymusic institution was fashioned. The presenter posed the question how this works to who and from where. It was emphasised that no vocalists are involved only the musicians and lyricists as only to them the copyright ,claims are there. Kalindu clearly emphasised that currently songs are remade with sophisticated instruments sans harming the original melodies. Also if a different vocalist sings in a concert the song of a reputed original singer it is only reformed or remade. What is the established norm in the world is the right of the musician and the lyricist. In most countries this arrangement is via a Company as a producer by which even singers like Micheal Jackson, who act on behalf of the related artistes which system had not existed unfortunately in primitive Sri Lanka. When questioned whether there is injustice to the original  vocalist the answer was no as for e.g think of a song that was created in 1980 the so called in the ‘swarname ugaya’ the producer has paid the related fees to the singer, musician and the lyricist. If that particular singer having become popular may have sung the song in so many concerts to date and each time he would have been paid his charges. But very unfortunately the lyricist or the music composer had not been paid a red cent.When this system is established by the Ceymusic  institution the musician and the lyricist too get paid through this system. This is a very reasonable according to what is practiced in developed countries all over the world where the established law is followed. It was reminisced that in the past many lyricists and musicians has undergone misery sans any income owing to the non implementation of this system. There had been allegations that certain people not knowing the current rulings saying that Ceymusic institution make money from artists who sing songs of others.Kalindu added that his father Rohana Weerasinghe is only one member in his institution but he had made music compositions for well over five thousand songs, when his income is compared with others his income may be larger.Kalindu added that in the Ceymusic institution there are around sixty artistes registered.  From WD Amaradeva,Victor Ratnayake,Sanath Nandasiri,Sarath de Alwis, Suni Ariyaratne,Nanda Malini from the more recent Shirley Wijantha,Namal Udugama and so many others junior artistes too.Kalindu emphasised that this exercise carried  involving all of them.Kalindu is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ceymusic institution who had to discharge duties on behalf of all of them.Kalindu has registered his Ceymusic institution with Apra/ Amcos in Australia and also in Sri Lanka obtaining a separate international identity card ,establishing his authorship, which one may highlight Kalindu as Rohana Weerasinghe’s son but this implementation is on behalf of all artistes.

 Kalindu also emphasised that in the olden days for friendships or as favours no fee had been charged by Rohana Weerasinghe,such occurrences are many. It was stated that in Australia when a variety show or a film  is organised  in Australia, the ticket is sold with the proceeds of the payments due to the lyricists and musicians , for instance if  a song is included in a frame of the film the singer and the lyricist too are paid their share from the proceeds of the ticket. The endeavour of Kalindu in this issue as this procedure should commence at some point imitating the counterparts of overseas who pay the shares due to the musician and lyricist as done fby the foreign counterparts.  Kalindu emphasised that during the covid epidemic all artistes were helpless sans any income but the songs composed and written by many were played  across You tube, Spotify and Apple the income derived by the Ceymusic institution were able to pay the artistes which was an unexpected income for many.Kalindu stressed that once these lyricists and musicians received money had messaged him acknowledging which had been a huge unbelievable pleasure to Kalindu’s heart.He also quoted an example of a more or less novice singer who sings a popular song of a famous lyricist  had even commenced a musical show in the name of the title of the song,In this case the lyricist and singer are helpless but via the Ceymusic institution the duo would get redress. Kalindu also affirmed that at musical shows some new artistes who are invited to sing are paid about two to three thousand dollars or sometimes even five thousand dollars, but they never ever think of paying even a meagre sum like rupees ten thousand to the original singer or musician. When questioned whether Rohana Weerasinghe is behind this to earn money Kalindu said he doesn’t need money for his living as Kalindu is there to support him if needed ,as he is well to do doing a good government job in Canberra , Father however has no difficulty to make ends meet in life.Kalindu emphasised that he is endeavouring to find father’s contemporaries a sizeable income which they are entitled to according the laws not enacted properly in native Sri Lanka.The presenter also added on a face book comment made by a reputed known actor , how come Rohana Weerasinghe has got a doctorate  without writing even a thesis to which Kalindu answered similarly Victor Ratnayake,Sujatha Attanayake, Nanda Malini , all have been awarded the doctorates from the Chancellors of Universities in appreciation of their services .Rohana Weerasinghe has been awarded the doctorate from the Chancellor of the Colombo University for his services rendered for films,teledranas,music etc in Sri LankaAlso on his creations, thesis too have been written by University students.His doctorate has been awarded in appreciation of his services to the motherland in aesthetic work. In  adding further Kalindu emphasised that a survey had been carried out by the Colombo university authorities who had found that every four minutes a song with music composition of Rohana Weerasinghe is played over the Sri Lankan frequency modulation (FM’s) channels and television channels on a daily basis. It was said by Kalindu that on Father’s creative ability a  few books also have been written quoting the names of the songs, It was added by Chamila the presenter that some have accused whether Kalindu is paying with transparency the money he receives. Kalindu answered saying there are two institutions linked, the Ceymusic institution in Australia and Ceymusic publishing Institution in Sri Lanka the latter is registered as a branch of the parent Ceymusic institution. All income via You tube, Spotify and Apple comes to Ceymusic institution in Australia as in Sri Lanka a CMO has not been established properly. Kalindu added that he deals with overseas personnel as in a company in Australia, the weight  therefore is more.Once a proper CMO is formed in Sri Lanka all operations would be made from there.From the income received monthly for payments to lyric writers and musicians a very clear statement is prepared as to how and for what the payments were received.After remitting to the respective accounts also they are followed by sms’s.Even for deceased artistes for e.g Ajantha Ranasinghe who had made so many stimulating and motivating lyrics for many songs of vocalists for decades before his demise receives an income which are distributed among his son in Australia and daughter in Sri Lanka who had expressed surprise as they had never expected this income.The duo Kalindu added contacts him to thank but regret that if the father lived he could have enjoyed in his twilight years. Kalindu also accentuated on the maestro musician Stanley Peiris who’s music creations are been distorted by others for their benefit. The presenter Chamila added that this is a concern for many in Sri Lanka which is the norm in Sri Lanka .The presenter posed an embarrassing a question as one has to pay dollars one thousand to Rohana Weerasinghe to Ceymusic institution  if a show is to be organized in Australia, which Kalindu too had heard.This saying is misinterpreted as the show organisers despite all tickets for a show had been sold appeals to lower the payments due to be paid to the musician and lyricist. But if they pay for the license and conduct the show there is no issue to Kalindu he affirmed. Chamila also questioned about an incident where allegations had been made that Rohana Weerasinghe is a hypocrite meaning pretender, in the case of a reproduction as one of song composition of Rohana Weerasinghe had been taken for a film distorting the creation sans his permission for which a court case is pending, there is no fault of Rohana Weerasinghe as it had not been channelled in the proper system.  Another question posed was about whether permission is sought from the lyricist or musician to do a cover song , to which Kalindu added no, but they cannot earn money as it is a reproduction. Some of course in consultation with the musician and lyricist come to an agreement how the income derived is to be shared if the song is added to the you tube. On another issue Kalindu clarified that no ‘strike’ is made by his Ceymusic company if any novice makes a new song without the intention of earning money.But if a new song is made to the you tube if the musician or lyricist are registered with Ceymusic a claim is made to recover the money due to them the process is very cumbersome. For the show organisers Kalindu emphasised that they need to pay Ceymusic institution only if the artistes invited sing songs are members registered with them only,here too Kalindu is very transparent otherwise the organisers could pay the authorised Australian company and proceed .Kalindu’s advise to organisers is like paying for the concert hall, artistes,security, band also to apportion a sum to the lyricists and musicians which is relatively a smaller sum by adding to the cost of the ticket. Finally Kalindu added that when speaking of Ceymusic the name of Rohana Weerasinghe his legendary father need not be mentioned though he is very honoured and gratified when he is addressed as Rohana Weerasinghe’s son, but  to pay his  royalty in my prime duty as well as to other legendary artistes.In conclusion Kalindu affirmed  a message he got from lyricist Sunil R Gamage on his birthday a few days back had messaged  which read ‘Ape wishrama departhamentuwe pradaniya Kalindu Puthanuwanta mage suba pathum”. Finally he added paying royalty is his responsibility as the CEO of Ceymusic institute.Finally Kalindu added that he could be contacted on his face book page also on Ceymusic face book page to resolve any pending issues.

Sunil Thenabadu email sthenabadu@hotmail.com WhatsApp 0061444533242