IP and music agreements
Produced in partnership with Wiggin LLP
IP and music agreements

The following TMT guidance note Produced in partnership with Wiggin LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • IP and music agreements
  • IP rights
  • Music publishing
  • Publishing agreements
  • Catalogue representation agreements
  • Band agreements
  • Record label/production agreements

This Practice Note considers intellectual property (IP) rights in the context of certain music agreements. In particular, the Practice Note outlines the various rights that subsist in a song and considers how these can be exploited. Issues relating to brand protection and image rights for musical artists are also considered.

IP rights

Copyright forms the basis on which songs and other musical works can be licensed and commercially exploited.

It is important to recognise that there are different types of copyright. Provided that the originality threshold is met, and the song has been recorded in material form:

  1. copyright will subsist in the musical composition (or score) as a musical work;

  2. the lyrics of a song will be separately protected as a literary work;

  3. the recording of the song will attract separate copyright as a sound recording

In addition to the principal rights attaching to music, other copyrights may be relevant in the context of music agreements. For example, original artwork featured on an album cover will be protected as an artistic work; images appearing on merchandise relating to a song or artist may also be protected as artistic works.

The copyright owner has the exclusive right to do, and authorise others to do, certain acts in relation to the protected work. These exclusive rights comprise so-called mechanical rights (the right to copy the