Learn about copyright

Current as of 17 March 2023.

BandLab is built to respect the copyright of users. We expect all BandLab users to demonstrate that same respect for copyright as well.

You’ll be seeing the word “copyright” a lot in this document, so we want to use this section to make sure you have a basic understanding of what copyright means. We’ll cover these topics:

  • What is copyright?
  • Who owns a copyright?
  • What rights do copyright owners have?
  • What is copyright infringement?
  • Copyright checklist
  • Additional resources

Please note: This page will give you some very basic information about copyright. However, you shouldn’t regard anything on this page as constituting legal advice. If you have any matters you think relate to copyright, please make sure you consult a copyright lawyer.  

What is copyright?

“Copyright” is the term used to describe the rights enjoyed by creators of original works.

Here are some relevant facts about Copyright:

  • Copyright is a form of intellectual property, applicable to original literary, musical, dramatic or artistic works, and in sound recordings, films, broadcasts and other creative works (a “Work”).
  • Copyright is usually owned by the creator or author of the Work.
  • Copyright can sometimes be shared amongst two or more co-creators, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work. This means that each co-creator has an independent right to use and license the Work.
  • Copyright gives the owner the exclusive right to reproduce, copy, perform, communicate, adapt, synchronise, distribute, sell, license, and generally use and control how their Work is used. This would include adaptation or public performance of the Work, inclusion of the work in a broadcast, or distribution of the work both physically and on the Internet.
  • Because these rights are exclusive to the copyright owner, anyone wanting to do any of these things needs the permission of the copyright owner.

Copyright can exist in all sorts of things – for example, music, lyrics, photographs, artwork, books, speeches, TV programmes and movies.

What might appear to be a single Work can include several different copyrights owned by various different people.  For example, a music track by a signed artist will often include separate copyrights in the composition, the lyrics, and the sound recording.

  • Copyright in the composition and lyrics will usually be owned by the artist or music publishing company.
  • Copyright in the sound recording will usually be owned by the artist’s record label.

Use of that music track, including any adaptation or remixing of the music track (including use of any part of the track such as an isolated vocal or guitar performance), or any uploading or sharing over the Internet, will require the permission of all of these copyright owners, either directly or through their representatives (for example, through a collecting society or performing rights organisation).

Who owns a copyright?

In most cases, the person who creates the Work will automatically become its copyright owner—there’s no need to register anything. So if you write some amazing lyrics, come up with some equally cool music and write out the chords or actually annotate the sheet music, then record yourself singing and playing the song on a guitar, congratulations! You now own the following:

  • The literary copyright—because you wrote out the song lyrics, sheet music or chord patterns
  • The musical copyright—when you played the song
  • The sound recording copyright—as you recorded what you played and sung.

Of course, there can be some exceptions to this ownership rule. For instance, if you’re employed to be a creator, then the person who employed you would own the copyright to any Works you create for them.

What rights do copyright owners have?

In general, copyright owners have the exclusive right to do the following:

  • Reproduce/copy the Work
  • Perform or otherwise communicate the Work to the public
  • Make an adaptation of the Work
  • Synchronise the Work with video or graphics

“Exclusive rights” means that the only person in the world who’s allowed to copy, perform, communicate, synchronise or adapt the Work is the copyright owner.  However, copyright owners can grant licences or create contractual agreements to allow others to copy, perform, communicate, synchronise or adapt the Work, or to authorise other people to do so.

When you upload Content to the BandLab platform (the “Services”), you’re granting BandLab a licence to copy, synchronise, perform, communicate and adapt your Content. Without such a licence, BandLab wouldn’t have the right to host your Content on our servers or display it back to you.  That’s why it’s so important that you own the copyright to the Content which you upload to the platform, or have the relevant permissions from the person who owns the copyright to that Content. Even if you’re only using a sample or a short extract of somebody else’s copyright material in your Content (including material you didn’t create), you will still need the relevant permission from the person who owns the copyright. 

What is copyright infringement?

You infringe copyright if you reproduce, perform, communicate to the public, adapt, synchronise, distribute or sell someone else’s work without their permission.

There are some easy steps to take if you don’t want to break copyright laws—like not copying or adapting someone else’s work, or making it available on the internet—without the copyright owner’s permission. It is important that if you are in doubt, you simply do not to use anything which you did not create.

If you do decide to use someone else’s work, make sure you have the necessary permissions.  This is usually in the form of a licence from the copyright owner(s). You may have to pay for such a licence. On BandLab, the copyright owner may grant you a licence to make use of their work by making his work “forkable”.

Copyrights and BandLab

It is important to understand that when you upload to or create Content on the Services, you remain the owner of the copyright in that Content, but you grant BandLab, and other Users a licence to copy, download, modify, synchronise, play, perform and even potentially commercialise that Content, depending on your Content sharing settings.

CONTENT SHARING: You may use BandLab’s settings to control who can access your Content, and the extent of access to and use which they can make of your Content.

  • Private: All Content is set to “Private” by default, meaning that only you can access it, make adaptations of it and use it.
  • Public: This setting allows other Users to view your Content or play it on BandLab by streaming, but they will not be able to download, adapt , synchronise or use that Content.
  • Forkable: If you have Content that it is ready to be published and would like other Users to be able to take it further by remixing, modifying or otherwise developing it themselves, you can change the setting on that Content to allow forks or be “forkable”. Other Users will then be able to copy, download, modify, play, perform, synchronise, and even commercialise that Content or their adaptations of that Content. You can make either a single or series of revisions in a song “forkable”.
  • Tree View: You can trace your creative process in Tree View in both your Bands and your personal account. Tree View allows you to view and access previous versions of Content, and to track how that Content has been used and developed by yourself, your Bands, or other Users with whom the Content has been shared.

BandLab was built specifically for musicians and creators to collaborate with each other.  The tools available on BandLab allow you to form bands, work with sessions musicians, or build upon another User’s creation by “forking”.

BAND: The following section provides some basic guidance about the rights which Users give one another within a Band:

  • A Band on BandLab is just the same as a Band in real life — minus the difficulty of transferring files, converting formats or booking studio time.As in real life, Band Members on BandLab share work material and make decisions collectively.  This has some important implications on copyright ownership of Content jointly created by Band Members.
  1. Agreement between Band Members– It is a good idea for Band Members to have a clear, explicit and written understanding among themselves regarding ownership and other rights in Band Content, so that every Band Member knows what will happen if the Band breaks up, adds or loses Members, or wishes to license or commercialise its Content. It is recommended that you seek legal advice particularly if you think there is a possibility of you or your Band making commercial use of Band Content.
  2. Band Content: When you upload or create Content in a Band, you allow existing and future Band Members to copy, download, modify, play, perform and even potentially commercialise that Content. You should make sure you are comfortable with sharing your Content with Band Members in this way before you start to upload or create Content in a Band.
  3. Public / Private Band Content– All Band Content is set to “Private” by default, meaning that only existing Band Members can access it. If your Band has Content that it is ready to be published, any Band Member can change the setting on that Content to be “Public”.
  4. Forking Band Content– Any Band Member can change the setting on that Content to allow forks or be “forkable”. It is the Band’s responsibility to come to a clear agreement before making any Content “forkable”.
  5. Leaving the Band– If you are a Member of a Band and you leave the Band, Content which you have moved to or created in the Band remains available in the Band for use by the remaining and future Band Members. You cannot delete Band Content which has been uploaded to, created in, or posted to the Band even if it incorporates or is a modification of Content originally posted by you.
  6. Breaking Up a Band – Only the person designated as the Band Owner can break up or delete a Band. Once a Band is deleted, the band will cease to exist and all of the Band Content will be removed from BandLab. If you want to ensure your unrestricted access to Band Content, you will need to export and save Band Content to your own local device. This can be done regularly to be sure that you maintain an up-to-date version of Band Content.

For more information on any form of sharing on BandLab, please refer to our FAQs.  You may also send your questions to our support desk at support@bandlab.com.

Does my copyright depend on which country I live in?

There are differences in copyright laws from country to country. Make sure you know your own country’s copyright laws, or talk to a lawyer, so you know exactly what your country’s copyright law is.

What can I do if I believe my copyright has been infringed?

If you believe that copyright-protected work was posted on BandLab without authorization, you may submit a Copyright Notice by filling in the Copyright Notice Form here. Upon receipt of a valid Copyright Notice, BandLab will take reasonable steps to remove or disable access to the allegedly infringing material.

After removing or disabling access to the allegedly infringing material, BandLab will, as soon as possible, notify the person who made the allegedly infringing material available on the Services and provide the person with a copy of the relevant Copyright Notice.

If you are the person who made the allegedly infringing material available on the Services and you are notified by BandLab of the removal or disablement of access to this material, you may, within 6 weeks of being so notified, submit a valid Counter Notice by filling in the Counter Notice Form here. Upon receipt of a valid Counter Notice, BandLab will take reasonable steps to restore the material (if it is technically and practically feasible to do so) unless the copyright owner commences court proceedings to prevent the restoration of the material and BandLab is informed of such proceedings.

BandLab will only act upon receipt of a valid Copyright Notice or Counter Notice, and reserves the right not to entertain any correspondence if the Copyright Notice or Counter-Notice is not in the prescribed forms.

Please note that under the Singapore Copyright Act, if you are found to have made a false statement in your Copyright Notice or Counter Notice, you will be liable in damages to any party who suffers any loss/damage as a result of that notice. In addition, if convicted, you can be fined up to S$10,000 or be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

Copyright checklist

As a general guide, here are some of the issues you might want to consider before uploading anything to the Services:

For music uploads:

Are the following statements all true?

  • You composed the music.
  • You wrote the lyrics.
  • You recorded and produced the track yourself, or have written permission from the producer or record label that made the recording.
  • You have written permission from all copyright owners to use any samples and excerpts of other recordings contained in the track.

Can you answer “no” to these questions?

  • Were you signed to a record label when you recorded the track?
  • Do you have a publishing deal?
  • Are you a member of a performing rights organisation or collecting society?
  • Have you licensed your track to anyone else?
  • Does the track contain the entirety or any part of someone else’s song(s) Is it based on someone else’s song(s)?

For other sounds, including field recordings, podcasts or voice messages, are the following statements all true?

  • The recording is unscripted, as opposed to being a script, play or book written by someone else.
  • It is a recording of your performance.
  • You made the recording.
  • You have the permission of every copyright holder to share the recording on BandLab.

Can you answer “no” to these questions?

  • Is the recording rehearsed or recited from a script, play or book written by someone else?
  • Does the recording contain any Content from other copyright works, such as movie dialogue?

Additional resources

For information about copyright in your country, try your local copyright office: http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/urls.jsp

For information on copyright laws around the world, try the World Intellectual Property Office database: http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/