Many people enjoy parody songs, often inspired by hit music, saying that they provide a laugh or even interesting social commentary. Though most parody is protected by fair use, some artists make a point to ask another artist for permission to parody a particular song. Even though that courtesy may not be necessary in a legal sense, some here in New York argue that songs should be protected from parody by copyright law, particularly with the advancement of technology. This is the question before music professionals after a researcher created an artificial intelligence program that can generate parody songs on its own.
Murals on buildings are a popular form of art these days. Some New York artists use them as a means of conveying a social message, while others simply seek to express their creativity. Though the majority of artists want people to enjoy these murals, others have concerns that companies may use them without permission in advertising, potentially profiting off of the artist's work without proper compensation. This is what one artist alleges against carmaker Chevrolet, saying it violated copyright law when it used one of his murals in an ad.
Online streaming has changed the way that creators of all kinds monetize their content. While YouTube has long been the subject of numerous copyright violation claims, other streaming sites are starting to deal with similar problems. The streaming site Twitch, which primarily streams user's video game feeds for fans to watch, recently came under fire for alleged violations of copyright law due to music that often appears in streaming content. The site is now taking action to mute certain archived streams that may contain music for which the streamer holds no copyright.
One of the greatest things about the internet is the ability to bring information to people who otherwise may not be able to access it as easily. A lot of people in New York use online videos to learn new skills. Some of the video creators may receive financial compensation for teaching, either directly from video revenue, or indirectly from increased sales of other things they may produce. However, in the case of YouTube videos that teach people to play instruments like a guitar, some artists feel teachers are profiting off of their songs by using them as teaching tools. Now authorities are attempting to determine if these instructional guitar videos are a violation of copyright law.
Many New York artists dream of becoming famous, but even if that doesn't happen, they can still make valuable contributions to the artistic world. When they aren't a household name, they may feel as though they have fewer resources than someone who is well-known, especially in legal matters. However, copyright law exists to protect artists at all levels in a wide variety of mediums, and just because an artist isn't famous doesn't mean that his or her work can't be protected. This is what a choreographer is attempting to prove in her lawsuit against singer Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay-Z.
When New York artists think about copyright, they generally consider protecting their work, especially if they are songwriters. However, that may not be the only creation they need to protect. Singers and bands can file for a trademark to protect a name they use to identify themselves. Even if they fail to do so, they may still have a claim under copyright law to a name they've used if someone else tries to use it without permission, depending on the circumstances. Recently, popular country group Lady Antebellum made the choice to change its name to Lady A, apparently not realizing that a blues singer has been using that name for around three decades.
Many New York artists assume that only musicians have a need to obtain a copyright for artistic works. However, artists of all mediums may benefit from protecting their creations, including photographers, designers and visual artists. Those in that last category in particular may not always think about how copyright law might help them, but it can. A young teen artist and his family recently filed a civil claim against retail giant Target, accusing the company of stealing one of his designs and using it in one of their kids apparel lines.
Most people assume that when they watch an online video of a musical, they aren't hurting anyone, though that isn't entirely true. Even the biggest Broadway shows here in New York were created by artists who put a great deal of work into this form of entertainment. Watching an online, or a "bootleg," copy of a show is a violation of copyright law, as artists deserve to financially benefit from their artistic creations. Many industry leaders agree and to that end, the U.S. Copyright Office recently implored lawmakers to strengthen copyright laws to protect Broadway shows and reduce the number of Broadway bootlegs available online.
Copyright violations can be devastating to a New York artist's career. Though there are unscrupulous entities that won't hesitate to use an artist's work without permission, many copyright violations are much less sinister. With the popularity of social media and the internet, many individuals accidentally violate copyright law by playing an artist's work without permission. However, just because a person doesn't maliciously intend to steal an artist's work doesn't mean the violation is unimportant. To that end, social media platform Instagram recently announced that it will warn users about possible copyright infringement when users stream live content that contains music.
Many artists here in New York know that obtaining a copyright for their work is important, but they may not fully understand all the matters around this legal issue. Fortunately, there are facets of copyright law that are fairly straightforward. Getting a basic understanding of these points may help artists realize how copyright law can protect them and their creations from improper use.