What You Need to Know about Copyright Infringement


You have heard many copyright suits in the music industry over the years. Last year, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams was on the spot light. This year, another issue spurted involving Ed Sheeran’s mega-hit “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”. According to the lawsuit, Ed Sheeran stole Marvin Gaye’s music. Both songs have similar melodic and rhythmic compositions.


The plaintiffs want to stop Ed from performing “Thinking Out Loud” until damages are determined in the court. Ed Sheeran was sued together with labels and publishers because they did not respond to the lawsuit immediately upon filing. With these, the song writer community should be careful. Let us see where this leads.

You do not understand how this copyright infringement works. Here in Singapore, this happens but not too common. When you hear copyright infringement, it refers to the use of the works that are protected by copyright law without consent. Copyright law is complicated for an ordinary citizen but that does not exempt you from trial should you unknowingly use works that are protected by copyright law without consent from the owners.

The good thing is that once you understand the basics, you will find it simple. With simple principles, you can surely save yourself from troubles of running afoul.     youtube_sorryaboutthat

Know what it protects

It was mentioned earlier that copyright law protects works from being used without consent. Copyright law gives protection to original creation and awards the holder exclusive control to whom or when their works can be copied, exhibited or distributed.

The law protects literary works, drawings, photographs, films, paintings, music (including its lyrics), sculptures, choreography and many creative works.

Know what is not protected

Those that are not protected are safe to use without asking for permission or consent. Now this is something that you should know. Copyright law does not protect all things – it does not protect facts and ideas. For example, it does not keep you from expressing your own ideas and facts but you should always give proper credit to your sources.

You should be familiar with the public domain. Public domain refers to “uncopyrighted” things. One example is a work out of copyright because of age.

Now that you know what constitutes copyright infringement, you will know better. These simple principles can help you with everything. You do not want to run afoul with the law and be summoned because you stole something that is not yours. Be careful!       Legal or Illegal with Red Marker