‘Music Copyright Explained’ is a free user-friendly guide to how music copyright works in the UK, produced by CMU Insights for the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, and published in March 2021.

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’.

Available online or to download as a PDF, the guide explains how copyright gives music-makers control over the songs and recordings they create. It also talks through how music-makers and the music industry generate income out of their music rights, and outlines all the key things music-makers and other creators need to know about music copyright and licensing.

Some comments on ‘Music Copyright Explained’…

GEE DAVY Association Of Independent Music
“Knowledge is power and an understanding of music copyright hands that power to musicians and songwriters seeking to earn from their talents, and to anyone building a business releasing or working with music. Copyright provides opportunities to build musical careers and businesses, and this guide provides a straightforward and practical tour through the foundations. I’ll be recommending it widely”.

“Copyright is fundamentally important – it underpins our world-leading music industry and gives creators control over their work. This invaluable guide from the Intellectual Property Office will equip music-makers with the right tools to ensure they are properly rewarded for what they create”.

“Music copyright can be daunting for those new to it. As a lawyer at an organisation that works hard to explain clearly how we fit into it all, I’m delighted to see the approach taken in ‘Music Copyright Explained’. It’s the perfect ‘big bang’ beginner’s guide to music rights and helpfully positions the collective licensing systems”.

PHIL KEAR Musicians’ Union
“An understanding of copyright allows music-makers to ensure their performances and creations are adequately protected from unauthorised use and therefore to realise their full financial potential. It can often seem a complex subject, but even a basic knowledge can ensure a creator knows which rights they hold, how those rights are properly enforced and how they can be used to generate financial reward”.

“Whether you’re established in the music industry or just starting out, keeping up to date with the basics of music copyright will serve you well. Copyright law and music licensing can become complex, but the basic principles are relatively easy to understand. Keeping on top of them will help you properly protect your own rights and ensure that you understand the parameters of how to legally use other people’s music”.

TIM MOSS Intellectual Property Office
“The UK has a 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. In doing so it will help creators ensure their work is rewarded, shared and used in the right way”.