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montysimmons
montysimmons, Patent Prosecutor
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Experience:  Electrical Engineer, South Carolina Attorney, Member of US Patent Bar
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Intellectual Propery Law - Music Copyrights

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Good Afternoon, Does anyone have experience with Intellectual Property Law with music copyrights?


montysimmons :

Hello.

montysimmons :

I do not have personal experience with music copyrights but I have read about them.

montysimmons :

I may be able to assist you depending on the question(s) you have.

montysimmons :

When you come back on line, just present a more specific question and perhaps I can find the answer for you.

montysimmons :

Thanks.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Good Afternoon, I will be online for the next few hours.

My sister is an independent artist and has two albums/CD's that she has made within the United States, they have been published.. They are copyrighted under the name Kelly Saint Patrick, her birth name isXXXXX have just found out...accidentally....that her music from her first album is being used in Poland for several television series and films including a soundtrack release of a popular TV series in Poland being sold on Amazon and Ebay with her song on it. However, everything related to her music in Poland with regards XXXXX XXXXX music being used there is listed as Kelly Skrzysowsk (the I has been left off). There are video's being used with her music that she was not aware of. When I did further research it looks like a Polish music producer is being linked to her music being used in Poland because his name/facebook account is attached to everything we are finding. I am not talking one or two times, we have found several TV series/episodes/films where her songs are being used, it is her voice and music, not being redone by someone else. Is there any recourse for this? And...it is only in Poland that we are finding this is happening.


Foreign copyrights can be a bit tricky, especially for places like Russia and Poland.

I will get back to you later tonight.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you!

Well, I believe the first step is for you to contact several of the people involved and let them know of your copyright registration.

 

But before we get into that, I will provide you with a little background information on copyright law relevant to your situation.

 

 

ISSUES

 

(1) You live in New York, USA

 

 

(2) Your sister has created/authored musical works and registered copyrights in same and she owns all the copyrights (may not be accurate - see below).

 

 

(3) At least one person or entity in Poland is using your sister's musical works without her permission.

 

 

What can be done?

 

 

SELECTED COPYRIGHT LAW

 

 

The reproduction/selling/transferring of copyright material without the copyright owner’s permission is copyright infringement unless such use/actions qualify as fair use.

 

 

I see little change of what you describe as being “fair use.”

 

 

Therefore, what you describe would be copyright infringement under US law as such actions violate provisions of both the Copyright Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

 

 

What about Poland? What happens if your work is copied in a foreign country? Does the law of the foreign country apply or does US law apply?

 

 

There is no “international copyright” that automatically protects an author’s writings throughout the world (but all is NOT lost).

 

 

That said, generally speaking, if there is copyright protection in other countries such depends on the national laws of that country. The copyright laws of each country are concerned only with actions that take place within that country. For example, US law will apply to copying within the US no matter where the work was originally written or published. Similarly, Polish copyright law applies to anything published or performed in Poland regardless of where it was originally created.

 

 

Thus, copying in the United States will be regulated by US copyright law copying in Poland will be governed by Polish Copyright law.

 

 

Therefore, while there is no international copyright, most countries offer protection to foreign works through international copyright treaties and conventions. The two big ones are (a) the Berne Convention and (b) the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC).

 

 

The US and Poland are a signatories to the Berne Convention and the Berne Convention treaty requires all signatories to recognize the copyright of works of authors from other signatory countries.

 

 

Poland is a contracting party of the Berne Convention treaty (January 28, 1920). Therefore, Poland is bound to honor your American Copyright claims in your sister's musical works UNDER the copyright laws of Poland.

 

 

POLISH COPYRIGHT LAW http://www1.american.edu/initeb/rw9257a/property.htm

 

 

Copyrights in Poland are protected by the Law on Copyrights and Rights Related of February 4, 1994. The new law meets contemporary international standards and corresponds to the principles of free trade in intellectual property and is consistent with the protections of the European Union Copyright Directive.

 

 

The 1994 law was substantially revised in June 2000 and the scope of copyright protection has been considerably broadened. The new law covers not only the protection of traditionally understood author's rights, but also related rights.

 

 

The law provides for new rights and new owners of these rights who are able to decide how the outcome of their work is to be used and are able to derive financial benefits from this outcome. The new owners include produces of sound and video recordings, TV, and radio stations as well as artist-performers. The new law provides protection of intellectual property in the area of science, technology and manufacturing, including computer programs, industrial designs, etc.

 

 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

 

Piracy of CDs (both via wholesale and resale venues) remains the largest source of piracy in the recording industry. The level of piracy in the recording industry reached 30% in 2001, with approximately 90% of CDs smuggled into the country coming through its eastern border. In a two-month period in 2001, over 100,000 pirated CDs were seized by authorities, and throughout all of 2001, Police enforcement authorities recovered approximately 1,001,180 CD units, amounting to more than $37 million (US) in losses.

 

 

YOUR OPTIONS

 

 

OK, your US copyright rights are protected by Polish copyright law - assuming Poland enforces such laws. Now what?

 

 

YOU STATED

 

 

We have just found out...accidentally....that her music from her first album is being used in Poland for several television series and films including a soundtrack release of a popular TV series in Poland being sold on Amazon and Ebay with her song on it.

 

 

ANSWER

 

I would contact the legal departments of these TV Stations and Film producers and inform them of your copyright claim and ask to see the documents giving them written permission to use your musical works (there should be none).

 

 

I would do the same for this "Polish music producer". Your next action will depend on their response.

 

 

COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION

 

 

I could not locate a US copyright registration under "Kelly Saint Patrick" but I did find one under "Kelly Skrzysowski"

 

 

Information provided below

 

Pussycat V.1.

Type of Work: Music Registration Number : PAu003618756

Registration Date: 2012-05-19

Application Title: Pussycat V.1.

Title: Pussycat V.1.

Description: Electronic file (eService)

Copyright Claimant: Studio to Be Named, Inc.,

Transfer: By written agreement. Address:XXXXX, Apt. 7i, Rego Park, NY, 11374.

Date of Creation: 2009

Authorship on Application:

(1) Elektrica, pseud. of Vera Bobrova (author of pseudonymous work); Citizenship: United States. Authorship: music, lyrics.

(2) Salme Dahlstrom; Domicile: United States. Authorship: music, lyrics.

(3) Kelly Skrzysowski; Citizenship: United States. Authorship: music, lyrics. Rights and Permissions: Cassandra Spangler, Esq.,XXXXX Suite 704, New York, NY, 10001 Names: Bobrova, Vera Elektrica, pseud. Dahlstrom, Salme Skrzysowski, Kelly Studio to Be Named, Inc.

Note the following from the above information:

(a) copyright claimant is Studio to Be Named, Inc.

(b) Copyrights transferred: By written agreement.

If the registration provided in the answer above is yours, please note the following:

(a) copyright claimant is Studio to Be Named, Inc.

(b) Copyrights transferred: By written agreement.


It seems this "Studio to be Named" contends all the copyrights were transferred to it by "written agreement."

Perhaps such registration is for a different work.

montysimmons and other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much for your excellent detailed information. It was very helpful. The above is from a different work. She is working on contacting the TV network to get more information. Thanks again for all of your help.


You are welcome.

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