Do I own the copyright of the master recording of my derivative version of a copyrighted song? 4 Answers as of December 14, 2010

I have recorded a derivative version of a copyrighted song (I await approval for a mechanical license). The copyright admin tells me I am entitled to neither writer nor publisher royalties nor do I retain ownership of my arrangement. If the song is licensed for use in TV or film, do I have rights to claim any royalties for the master recording license?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
Your question raises several legal issues and is in effect asking for a legal opinion on your specific situation. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss the services you may need to address your particular matter.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 12/14/2010
Law Offices of Daniel Richardson
Law Offices of Daniel Richardson | Daniel R. Richardson
No. Derivative works are controlled by the copyright owner.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/9/2010
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
Let me give you an analogy. Painter Joe paints a picture of a cactus framed by red mountains. He is the copyright owner because he is the artist. He can register the copyright or not. Painter Bill makes a derivative work of Joe's painting that is a sephia image. Bill is entitled to the copyright in the sephia image because it qualifies as a work of art. Bill may file for a copyright as well. However since Bills artwork is derivative of Joes, Bill's work infringes. Bill cannot profit from his work of art.

If this were patents perhaps it would be clear. Inventor Joe designs a new transmission with parts a b a c interconnected. He gets a patent. Inventor Bill invents a better transmission with parts a b c and d. Inventor Bill gets a patent too because it is a new and novel invention. Hpwever Bill cant make use or sell his new transmission becsue it infringes Joes patent rights. Why Because Joe has a patent on a transmission with parts abc. To
infringe, one need only have all of the same claim elements as anothers patent. Does Bill have a transmission with parts abc? Yes. It does not matter if there is also a d.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/9/2010
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
The Copyright Act grants the owner of a copyright the exclusive right to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work. 17 U.S.C. 106(2). Section 103(a) goes on to provide that while copyright can be obtained in derivative works,"protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully." Thus, if the derivative work was authorized, and there is sufficient incremental originality, it may well be that you own the derivative portion of the derivative work. If, however, the derivative work was not authorized, then you don't own any part of the derivative work.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/9/2010
Click to View More Answers: