We’ve already seen so many court cases over copyright infringement. Sometimes, one artist has a similar idea to another artist and inadvertently makes a song that sounds similar. And sometimes it may be on purpose, who knows. The point is, you need to protect yourself. So let’s talk music copyright.
The article from Digital Music News, titled “Musicians, Here’s How To Copyright Your Music,” provides an insightful guide for musicians on copyrighting their music. Here’s a summary of the key points:
- Purpose of Copyrighting Music: Copyrighting music legally protects your creative work. It grants exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, and display your music, both domestically and internationally. It also provides legal recognition and ownership, prevents unauthorized use, and allows you to take legal action against infringement.
- Types of Copyright: The article distinguishes between the copyright of a musical composition and a sound recording. The former refers to the underlying music and lyrics, typically owned by the songwriter or composer, while the latter pertains to the actual recording of the song.
- How to Copyright Your Music: The U.S. Copyright Office offers several ways to register your music, including standard applications for individual works and group registrations for unpublished works or albums. This registration provides access to federal courts for infringement cases and a public record of ownership.
- Addressing Copyright Infringement: If infringement occurs, the article advises gathering evidence, contacting the infringing party with a cease and desist letter, using DMCA takedown notices for online infringements, seeking legal advice, and potentially filing a lawsuit.
- Poor Man’s Copyright: This informal method involves mailing a CD of your music to yourself to create a dated record of its existence. However, it’s not a legally recognized alternative to official registration.
- Posthumous Protection and Transfer Rights: Copyright protection lasts for the life of the creator plus a certain number of years (usually 70), allowing control over the music’s use even after the creator’s death. Copyrights can also be sold or transferred.
- AI and Copyright: The article briefly mentions that the U.S. government is still figuring out the implications of AI in copyright matters.
This guide is particularly useful for indie musicians and provides a comprehensive overview of the steps and benefits of copyrighting music, emphasizing the importance of legal protection for creative works.