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IPO and CMU launch new guide Music Copyright Explained

By | Published on Monday 22 March 2021

Music Copyright Explained

The UK government’s Intellectual Property Office and CMU Insights this morning published ‘Music Copyright Explained’, a new free guide to the ins and outs of music copyright. Aimed at music-makers – as well as the music industry and anyone making use of music – the new guide is available online or as a PDF download.

The IPO is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property rights including copyright. With the shift to digital making it so much easier to record and share music, the IPO recognises that it’s more important than ever for all music-makers and other online creators to understand the basics of music copyright and music licensing. That’s why it commissioned CMU to create ‘Music Copyright Explained’.

At the heart of the guide are the top five music copyright facts: that there are two distinct sets of music rights; that copyright allows music-makers to control how their music is used in a number of ways; that copyright is automatic and collaborators need to agree ownership; that music-makers work with various business partners to manage and monetise their rights; and that performers have rights even when they don’t own the copyright in recordings they appear on.

There are also sections that explain how the music industry licenses its rights in various scenarios; an overview of how music copyright works on a global basis; five top tips for music-makers; and five more for people making use of music.

Launching the guide this morning, Tim Moss, CEO of the Intellectual Property Office, said: “The UK has an amazing, world-leading music community. It makes a significant contribution to the UK economy and promotes the UK on the global stage. As more people make and share music online, or videos containing music, it’s important those creators understand the intellectual property they are creating and exploiting”.

“‘Music Copyright Explained’ does a brilliant job of breaking down the often-complicated world of music copyright and music licensing in a way that makes it easy to understand”, he added. “In doing so it will help creators ensure their work is rewarded, shared and used in the right way”.

Meanwhile, CMU Founder and Managing Director Chris Cooke added: “Copyright is all about giving creative people control over the output of their creativity, in the case of music the songs they write and the tracks they record. That control allows music-makers to decide how their songs and recordings get used and to build a business around their music. It’s great to be able to work with IPO on this new guide ensuring that everyone in the music community has access to the knowledge and information they need to take control of their music-making”.

CMU is presenting a free ‘Music Copyright Explained’ webinar to coincide with the launch. Three editions of that webinar are happening this week, at 1pm today, Wednesday and Friday. That will be followed by a series of ‘Music Copyright Explained’ panel discussions in early April.

To download the guide and sign up for the webinars and panels go to