Visualising music / do I need permission?

Copyright matters affecting music and musicians.
Post Reply
deval
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:54 pm
Location: UK

Visualising music / do I need permission?

Post by deval » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:08 pm

Hi there

I am an artist based in UK.

I am currently working on an independent art project aimed to visually deconstruct a popular song from the 60s – Space Oddity by D.Bowie.

The outcome of the project will be an exhibition of 10 graphic posters that will visually represent the data contained in the song.

I wonder if I can sell these posters to cover the expenses of the exhibitions or will I be infringing the copyright of the content of the song?

Your advice is very much appreciated.

Thank you!

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1942
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:26 am

Hi deval,

Assuming that your project won't actually include any of the lyrics (or music) then I can't see how this would infringe the copyright, since you would effectively be expressing the idea(s) of the song in an entirely new way. And as we say many times here, copyright is about the protection of the expression of ideas, not the underlying ideas themselves.

However if you do intend to use some of the lyrics (and/or music) within your artwork, then it would be sensible to get permission. There is an exception to copyright law which allows for parody or pastiches of copyright works, but it doesn't sound from your description that that is what your project will involve, so it probably wouldn't be of much use. Neither, I suspect, would another exception for the purposes of criticism or review be applicable in your case.

However I'm sure this would have been something Bowie himself would have loved, so let's hope his heirs are equally free-minded.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

deval
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:54 pm
Location: UK

Post by deval » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:17 am

Thanks very much for your prompt and helpful answer.

Post Reply