Thursday, 15 December 2011

Brazilian music and the remastering of vinyl disc

EMI Music, the renowned music industry, will have to compensate Joao Gilberto, a Bossanova icon due to remastering (electronic process whereby there is an improvement of sound to a previously existing recording) discs without permission.

The singer-songwriter Joao Gilberto, was granted compensation for infringement of his moral rights. The case regards the CD titled 'The Myth', released by EMI without the permission of musician. The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (STJ), Third Class by a majority vote, based the case on forensic evidence, recognizing that the three original songs recorded on vinyl discs suffered substantial modification after being remastered. This was a report from an expert who served in the process, and who found that, because of the remastering, "the work lost transparency in the middle frequencies and the acute sounds become very evident”.

One of the Minister that heard the case noted that when the works were reproduced on the CD, there was no existing contract between the author and the record company, and there was no authorization for using the works. He also added that the author's moral rights were compared to the right of paternity creating a link and an unbreakable bond between the work and the creator.

Background
The case was heard as an appeal brought by Mr Joao against EMI Music Ltd and the store Gramophone Records, Video and Computer Ltda. However, the Trial Court dismissed the action as unfounded in relation to the Gramophone because it was a mere trader. Initially, the court recognized the changes in the work, but not the damage as a result of it. In this regards the defendant alleged that the damage would not have occurred because the CD "The Myth" has received international awards, proving its quality. The court therefore granted Mr Joan only the right for property damage – receiving 18% royalties on sales of these CDs. The Court also granted Mr Joan payment of the amounts received by the label by using the work of Joao Gilberto in advertising campaign without his permission. The parties appealed to the Tribunal de Justiça do Rio de Janeiro (TJRJ) which dismissed the appeal and upheld the sentence of the first instance court. The claimant appealed to the Supreme Court where the Court not only recognised damages for copyright infringement but also the damage to his moral rights.


Proces No: REsp 1098626.
Source STJ.

For one of my favourites Bossanova songs, click here.

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