Five Seconds of Summer's Michael Clifford Just Learnt About Copyright the Hard Way

Imagine you've got a song. It's your song. You've written, recorded and released it, and now there's a remix of it. Then you, yourself, on your official account, put out this remix of your own song for the fans to hear - only for the "copyright owner" to take it down. Bizarre, right? Well, that's exactly what happened to Michael Clifford of pop-rock band, Five Seconds of Summer, who put out a parody remix of recent single 'No Shame' - though judging by the replies, he nicked it from a fan - only to have it disabled due to a complaint by the copyright owner.

Regardless of whether he stole the tweet or not, that is a Five Seconds of Summer song, so he was as shocked as anyone to find it disabled when he, a member of the band, tweeted it out himself.

Now, in fairness, we're not privy to the contract that Five Seconds of Summer signed with Interscope, their label. However, it is practically unheard of that the artist owns their music after they sign with a label, so we can safely assume that this is the same case for them. From the moment a band signs on the dotted line onwards, their music belongs to the label, not the artist. This can lead to many issues, and we did an article about it a while back.

Once again, though, we are forced to ask: how fair are these agreements? Frankly, copyright owner or not, Michael Clifford of Five Seconds of Summer should be allowed to tweet out a song by Five Seconds of Summer without being shafted by their label and/or Twitter. True, this is far from the biggest issue in the world right now, but he is right to be confused and perhaps a little angry.

Copyright remains one of the biggest issues in music, and it's been that way for decades. Some bands take it more seriously, whereas others don't really care. But ask anyone in the street whether or not the songwriters/performers should own their own songs and most would say yes. In reality, however, the label takes control and is able to make decisions regarding those songs that perhaps the writers/performers would disapprove of.

Music is a form of escapism for many and brings joy to billions, but there's a dark underbelly to the industry that takes on many forms and it needs addressing. Copyright is certainly part of that but it's only a small snippet of the litany of problems that reside within. It's time music faced these issues head on, and clearing up the issues and confusion that surround copyright would certainly be a damn good start.


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