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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
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Can a piece of work (video, recording, music) specifically

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Can a piece of work (video, recording, music) specifically created for a public service announcement (PSA) be copyright protected?
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

Are you asking if a PSA can be copyrighted at all, or if it can be copyrighted by a private source?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Can it be copyrighted by a private source. A friend is helping someone put together a PSA for television by creating a music video.

Thank you for your follow-up.


A PSA can indeed be copyrighted. If you, as a private entity, create a slogan, commercial, poster, or whatever intellectual property you wish, as creators you CAN formally copyright it as your own work. Then he can transfer the copyright as a whole to the end client, or transfer limited rights and a license for them to use it. That very much depends on that person's agreement with the end client and who ends up owning the rights to final product. But it can most definitely be protected especially if initially created by a private source.


Hope that helps.

Dimitry K., Esq. and 2 other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


I greatly appreciate your answer but there's a specific scenario that I need help with.

I work as an arranger and musician for a Recording studio for a few years. I do the scoring and perform in a variety of sound recordings produced by the studio for projects such as radio commercials, CDs, etc.
Occasionally, my employer allows me to use the studio to record music for my personal use. My neighbor is a music video producer who is putting together a public service announcement (PSA) to be aired on television in the form of a music video. He asked me if I will score, perform and record the sound track, which I verbally agreed to do and so I did some of the scoring at home but the recording at my place of employment, after hours and without the permission of my employer. The PSA is pretty successful and the soundtrack received favorably publicity. I would like to market it but my boss (studio employer) wants to claim ownership of it. I reviewed some of the legal stuff on web sites like the definition of work for hire in the Copyright Act and the Employer/Employee relationship material and need to know if this is a work for hire or is not? If it’s not, what needs to be done (or was needed to be done) for the recording studio to own the material? Your assistance would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know what your fee would be for a response. Thank you.

Thank you for your follow-up.

Oooh, that is a different situation. Just to be clear, you are an employee and not an independent contractor to the studio. And they never expressly consented to you using their equipment to make this video and this work?

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