Scenario One Summary Materials
There are many ethical and legal elements to be considered when discerning relevant copyright information. Any person who has contributed meaningfully to the completion of an artistic project, be it music, art, or anything else, is owed a copyright on the finished product. A copyright is not a solely owned product but is instead often the amalgamation of many creative minds (Moser 43). In order to receive income as a result of contributions made in a given musical or other artistic project, it is imperative that said contributor receives necessary copyright. If artists fail to properly credit one of the necessary parties, they have committed both a crime and an ethical impropriety (Ess 41).
Copyright ownership is not the same as ownership of property and therefore can be legally challenged in ways one may not sue regarding a physical item. The transfer of a physical item that contains a copyrighted project does not in any way signify the transfer of copyright. Should one provide a mixtape to a second party, the first party would still hold the copyright provided that individual was responsible for its creation. The copyright determination is based upon the initial creation of the work. The initial creator and copyright holder can therefore also remix or change said project in any way he or she fits, because the copyright holder possesses those abilities (Weijters, Bert, Goedertier, & Verstreken 92). However, if someone else should elect to modify or change the music without permission from the initial creator, that would be a violation of copyright law.
Scenario Two Copyright Materials
Many group ensembles employ Collective Bargaining Agreements, which serve as unions for musicians working in choirs and orchestras. These organizations provide the musicians with collective bargaining and more control over the working conditions they are entitled to. One of the privileges that a Collective Bargaining Agreement generally provides employees with is the ability to enjoy peer review. Should a music director wish to remove a member of the choir, symphony, or orchestra the individual first is entitled to a performance in front of fellow musicians. This helps to ensure that a music director is not unfairly biased against someone because of personal grief.
There are other ethical and legal ramifications for hiring and firing members of a musical group. One factor is that there are minimum amounts of notice that are expected and anticipated. A music director cannot randomly terminate a musician without giving the individual a week or two, depending on the predetermined parameters, to prepare for the transition. This would take place after a peer review was completed, assuming the paradigm allows for one (Engelke 12). Musicians often feel that their work is part of a larger contribution and therefore they are often as invested as the music director, which is why it is paramount they are granted opportunities to prove their worth and appeal firing decisions. In situations where there is no Collective Bargaining Agreement or there is no access to collective bargaining, musicians can petition the National Labor Relations Board for representation (Spintge & Loewy 76). While the NLRB does not take all cases, in many where musicians believe they are being mistreated, the NLRB will intervene on their behalf.
Generally, the NLRB only intervenes if the musicians are paid and very competent. The NLRB tries to avoid squabbles that involve very small or unprofessional organizations, as it is a waste of their limited resources. However, if an employer has set unreasonable time constraints or restrictions on employees, it is reasonable to expect the NLRB to consider it a case worth further investigation. Specific writing in contracts signed previous to the musician’s having been hired will be relevant in such a case. They may have already signed away rights to this type of representation.
Another important consideration is that ethically speaking, in professional music settings, it is not considered appropriate to expect someone to re-audition for a role (Cobussen & Nielsen 88). While many choirs and orchestras grow in prestige over the years, becoming far more sophisticated musical projects, they will still retain legacy musicians who have been a part of the process from the beginning (Bell 232; Kim 32). When Roberto Minczuk required musicians to re-audition for roles they had earned long ago, he was met with despair, fury, and eventually a total musician’s strike (Engelke 8). This is because re-auditioning is considered to be an unethical behavior. Musicians who have a long-term relationship with a musical performance are in essence considered tenured (Zachary 104).
While it is acceptable and normal to audition new members to the new standards being held, allowing a choir to evolve in dimension and then subsequently removing those who cannot live up to the new standards is considered unethical. Evidence shows that even in communal choirs, terminating members—volunteer or otherwise—is largely considered to be a grossly negligent ethical decision, as these choirs follow the same assumed tenure as other more professional outfits (Fogg & Talmage 264; Kurtz 44).