Knowledge of copyright and intellectual property is important for media and law students. So who owns the rights to Village People's YMCA? We have all danced to it at one stage in our life, most of us more than once, whether you are six to sixty and upwards. The song and many others are soon to be part of a new copyright battle between song writers and the record companies that distribute their work. Copyright and intellectual property is becoming an ever more important issue for the creative and cultural industries. Protecting your rights is important for film and documentary makers, photographers, and journalists across all media. In Griffith College's??journalism??and??photography??courses intellectual property and copyright is an increasing feature of the curriculum. In the??Law programmes??it is an essential course topic. Getting the true value of your content is difficult in a digital technology orientated world where on the one hand you want your content to go viral online but still want to get paid for it. In the United States this week one new front in the copyright discussions has emerged called "Termination Rights".
The word springs from legislation passed by the US Congress into law in 1978 that allows song writers regain control of their work 35 years after it was first realised by a record company. You have to apply two years before the date your work was commercially released. This week the New York Times and other news media have reported about the termination rights issue this week as January 1st 2013 will mark the first year Termination Rights can be granted. Albums released in 1978 that could see the rights fully return to their creator include Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town, Billy Joel's 52nd??Street, Funkadelic's One Nation Under a Groove and Village People's Y.M.C.A. Victor Willis, the original lead singer in the group has filed termination rights for Y.M.C.A and 32 other Village People tunes. With a song like this played at weddings, sports events on advertisements and even computer games ownership of the rights could be very lucrative. The case is being contested and could be the first of many such copyright disputes.