COPYRIGHT

Bobby Bingham - Vocals, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer, Programming, Editing, Arrangement, Production, Digital Mastering, Artwork, Web Design.
Alan Williamson - Acoustic Guitar *

Intellectual Property is an opportunity to encourage people to think about the role played by intellectual property in everyday life, and about its importance in stimulating and safeguarding innovation and creativity. We celebrate the starting point of all intellectual property, the seeds from which all innovations and creative works grow – ideas. Mankind’s inexhaustible capacity for producing ideas makes us unique. Yet this extraordinary ability is often taken for granted. We hardly notice the countless ideas we generate every day, or how much of what we value is the fruit of others’ ideas: labour-saving inventions, pleasing designs, life-saving technologies. Ideas shape our world. They are the raw materials on which our future prosperity and heritage depend. This is why it is important to provide environments in which innovative ideas are encouraged and rewarded. This is why intellectual property exists. From the words, music and images which move us, to the brands which attract us; from the bicycle to bio-fuel; from the microchip to mobile phone – it all starts with an idea.

Copyright is the guardian of the most precious skill: imagination.

"Imagination," said George Bernard Shaw, "is the beginning of creation". The ability to imagine is what sparks off ideas or feelings, which might then be transformed into a painting, a novel, a new invention or a piece of music. Copyright protects the expression of an idea; it allows people to 'create'. In our daily life, from the newspaper we pick up in the morning to a recipe for a new dish, nearly everything was created by someone. The fact that people can own the expression of their ideas means they can potentially earn a living by developing them. For example if an individual comes up with a brilliant new painting and someone else simply photographs it and starts mass-producing prints, then the painter is much less able to make a living from his work. The laws of copyright are designed to prevent this happening. The expression of their ideas belongs to people as much as the car or house or DVD player they bought. The individual's - or group's - interest in their ideas, and compensation for their time and effort, needs to be protected.

Music and copyright.

Copyright has been applied for a long time, and has adapted to numerous changes in technology - from the printing press through the vinyl record to the CD, the digital file, and the internet. But the reasons for copyright remain as important as ever. Copyright is a spur to artistic creativity, a basis for the business of music, and a way to let people who have a gift for writing, producing or singing to make a living doing what they - and their fans - enjoy. When someone creates a piece of music (or a text, graphic, photo, film or anything else that comes under 'intellectual property') there is a whole system of rights that go alongside, that outline what someone can and can't do with the material. For example, you can't copy a piece of work and pass it off as your own - as any student who's been lectured on plagiarism knows. You can't make tapes of a blockbuster film and sell them in a car boot sale. You can't copy software around from computer to computer, or use a photo in an advert, or play a music video publicly unless you have paid those who own or have been assigned the rights, and checked that they agree for the work to be used in that way.

Copyright in the digital world.

Copyright gives the people involved in creating music various rights over the copying, distribution, performance and internet transmission of their music. This includes protection for artists, composers, publishers and producers.
The rules vary slightly from country to country and some countries allow limited copying and performance that is truly 'private'. However uploading music to the internet and other indiscriminate copying and dissemination of music files is an infringement of copyright if done without the rights owners' permission. This is not 'private' but very public copying, especially considering that nearly a half-billion users have instant access to material put on the internet.
If this sort of copying and distribution continues without regard for those people whose ideas, talent and skill led to the creation of music, they may be simply unable to continue to create - in which case all of us are the losers.