WHAT IS COPYRIGHT?
International treaties and national laws grant producers of sound recordings certain rights regarding those recordings. This, says the IFPI, is to ensure that there are proper incentives for companies to continue investing in the creation, production and promotion of sound recordings.
The right to copy and distribute the recordings is an exclusive right that falls within these incentives. Most countries call these copyrights, some call them 'related' or 'neighbouring' rights. These are separate to any rights that may exist in the music or lyrics that are being recorded.
Copyright has been enshrined in international law for more than 200 years and it provides the economic basis for creating and disseminating music and other forms of creative works. According to the IFPI, it is because of copyright that the music industry has been able to grow into a major contributor to today' economies. Strong levels of copyright protection have ensured that this industry has developed over many years.
It is because of copyright laws that creative people are able to make a living out of their work. Copyright protects all in the music industry - from the fledgling up-and-coming newcomer, to the high profile, well-established superstar; the major label record company to the independent niche label.
It is because of copyright that law enforcers are able to take criminal action against those who copy and distribute music without the permission of the artist or record company that produced the work. Record companies can also institute civil proceedings to recover losses suffered as a result of music piracy. There are other laws [like tax and trademark laws] that are broken by music pirates but it is copyright laws that are the fundamental basis for making music piracy illegal.