As you have probably gathered by now, I don't take such a draconian view as Typonaut on this issue.
I agree with him that you are not liable for any primary infringement of Another's song by merely consenting to the use of your song in the adaptation. Nor are you liable through your approval of the resulting remix, since that would not amount to authorising another to make an infringing copy (contrary to section 16 (2)
There is little or no chance that owning a copy of the remix itself would land you in trouble as possessing a copy of an infringing work alone (provided you did not make it) is not an infringement of the author's rights. For there to be the offence of secondary infringement (section 23
), possession needs to be in the course of a business.
As Typonaut says, passing a copy to a friend is dangerous on two grounds: it might be seen as issuing a copy to the public (s 18
), and secondly it would involve you making a copy which would contravene s 17. However if your friend came round to your home and listened to the remix, that would not constitute a public performance, nor copying, nor issuing a copy to the public.
Clearly if the remixer, who is already liable for a s 17
infringement also compounds her sin by posting the remix on YouTube, and you then publish a link to it, on the current jurisprudence that would not be an infringing act on your part either.
While you may despair at the extent to which the law seeks to extend its tentacles, in many ways we ain't seen the half of it. For the last two says I have been at the Supreme Court where the appeal before their lordships has major ramifications for anyone surfing the internet. In essence, in an earlier case known as Meltwater
both the High Court and the Court of Appeal held that when a representation of a website page, or image or other item obtained from a web request appears on the screen of your monitor, tablet or smart phone that is new and separate copy of the work, and unless you know that you have the copyright owner's permission to view the page etc, you will be infringing copyright just by browsing. There is a provision (s 28A
) within the Act which appears to exempt browsing and the technical process which leads up to the creation of an image on your screen, but the UK courts have so far held this does not include the final stage of the process, namely the copy in the cache of the computer and the copy on screen. We will have to see how the Supreme Court decide. It is possible that they may make a referral to the European Court of Justice on some issues raised in the case, because at the heart of the matter is the correct interpretation of an EU Directive on the subject. You may think that website owners are implicitly giving their permission for you to view their content, so there's no problem. But as we know there are probably millions of websites which host content which has been lifted without permission, including some otherwise respectable sites like, ahem, YouTube. So if the Supreme Court reject this appeal, effectively most people in the UK browsing the internet will unwittingly become liable for making infringing copies on a regular basis.