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Category Rights and Law

Copyright in Musical Works

A song is a combination of two copyrighted works

1. Sound recording (sound recorded on any kind of material and capable of being replayed) Mostly, owned by record labels.

2. Musical work (rhythm, with or without lyrics) written by authors/composers. It depends on the agreement between record labels and authors/composers whether who will own the musical work. However, MCT recommends the authors/composers retain all the right in musical work they created.

There are three major rights related to a musical work:


When the music is publicly performed by playing (e.g. from Digital Files, CD, DVD) a user needs to obtain a license from the right owners of both works: sound recording and musical work.

If a user sings a song (e.g. cover song, live performance in an event/ concert without backing track), such user only needs to obtain license from the right owner of musical works.

Reproduction can be in physical forms, reproduced by machines (e.g. CD, DVD) or non-physical form (e.g. digital files) which being reproduced in the computer system.

The digital uses always involve the reproduction in order to perform the work.

Sync is a type of reproduction right which requires separate license, apart from mechanical/reproduction license. This license allows licensees to use music in visual work, such as commercial. The royalty rate for sync license is varied, depending on each copyright owner and type of use.

MCT mainly administers Public Performing Right in musical works in different type of uses. (for more information please refer to “ Tariff ” page.)

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