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The glossary contains definitions and explanations of key terms and phrases used that may not be easily understood. In line with the aim of Lost in Music to make the music industry easier to navigate, we hope that these will aid your understanding of the cases. If there are other terms you spot that we have used that are not in the glossary but need further explanation, please contact one of the team.

fair use

An exception to the Copyright Act which allows, in certain strictly defined circumstances, copyrighted works to be copied without permission. Such circumstances include for review or criticism.


Music usually has a melody line (the tune) and a bass line (the lowest notes). The 'harmony' is the bit in the middle - usually the chords that make up the flavour of the music. Chords are defined as musical keys. The Beatles song Day Tripper starts with a guitar and bass 'riff'. The drums then introduce the rhythm guitar part which adds the 'harmony' to the riff - in this case a chord of E major 7.


The act of breaching the rights that belong to another party in relation to a piece of intellectual property - in this context to a piece of music.


A legal order to stop something from happening - in this context it is usually to stop the distribution of a piece of music which may be considered likely to infringe. An injunction hearing is of necessity quick. If an injunction is granted, a separate hearing may follow to determine whether an infringement has taken place, or the parties may settle.


The musical instruments required to perform a piece of music. In music for orchestras the term 'orchestration' is also used.

intellectual property

A creation of the mind (intellect) which belongs either to its creator or a representative (property), such - in this context - as a publisher or record label.


The author of the words (libretto) of an opera.


A grant of rights. Permission to use protected rights, usually for payment of a fee. A licence differs from an assignment in that it doesn’t change the ownership of the rights in question.

mechanical licence

The licence that is required from the publisher of a musical work in order to make copies of recordings available for sale. In most countries mechanical licences are available from a collection society such as MCPS in the UK or GEMA in Germany. Typically a licence costs between 8% and 12% of the retail price of the recording.


The tune - the main, identifiable element of a piece of music that gives it its strongest unique quality, and thus the feature that is most strongly contested in an infringement case. The adjective 'melodic' refers to the melody.