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Copyright Music in Order to Protect Future Profits
If you are a budding artist seeking to copyright music that you have labored over, there is good news. Many people confuse copyrighting music with registering music and they are two different things. According to the law in the United States, once you have written or recorded your music in a permanent form, it is copyrighted.
Of course, it might help to first understand what it means to copyright music in the first place. A copyright is a certain legal protection that is offered to those who compose creative works. Whether those works be art, music, or the written word. According to the U. S. constitution there are limits that can be placed on the amount of time that the work is exclusively protected.
If you copyright music, this means that you and you alone have the right to use your work or allow others to use your work. You also have the right to distribute copies of your work. Whether those copies are in the form of written or sheet music or recorded music to the public as well as the right to perform your music for the public.
There is something called fair use that despite your copyright; music written or recorded by you may be used for the purpose of research, news reporting, commentary, or criticism. In other words, there are times when the use of copyrighted material is deemed appropriate without the consent of the one holding the copyright.
To copyright music alone is not enough in many cases to protect your music, at least not without going through a lot of hoops in order to do so. One of the things you can do in order to protect your copyright is provide notice of copyright. This is a simple step that includes writing a simple statement to the effect of the word "copyright", the date, and your name at the bottom of your sheet music or on the case for the recording or the actual recording itself. CD's are the most common means for recording devices today and a notice of copyright can easily be added to the exterior of your CD or on your label if you have one printed.
In case you are wondering: why copyright music? The answer is rather simple, so others cannot take credit for your creative genius. For an added layer of protection you may want to consider registering your copyright as well. Registering your copyright will provide you with formal legal documentation of your ownership of your music should anyone else attempt to lay claim to your music or any other dispute about true ownership/authorship come about.
You must have your copyright registered if you wish to file a copyright infringement suit and it is, in my humble opinion, better to not only copyright music early on but also to register your copyright before it could possibly become an issue. Registering while not entirely painless is not as difficult a process as you might think. Basically it involves filling out an application, paying a filing fee (check with the U. S. Copyright Office for the current amount), and a copy of the work being protected (this will not be returned).
It's also important to remember that your music doesn't have to be published in order for you to obtain a copyright. Music should be copyrighted and registered long before the publication process in order to protect your rights as the creator of the music. Whether you are dabbling with cute little limericks or writing masterpieces and concertos or are rock and rolls next super star you want to make sure to copyright music earlier rather than later for the best possible outcome should problems arise.
Copyright Infringement Play It Safe: Making Sure You're Not Committing Copyright Infringement Copyright infringement is not an easy thing to explain. While it may seem as simple as not using someone else?s work, it?s not that easy. Thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and many other organizations, we have the ability to use others? works ? as long as we use it under ?fair use? laws. So what does fair use have to do with copyright infringement, and how can you utilize it? Fair use laws are the conditions in which you can use a copyrighted work without having to pay someone royalties. This includes when you use a copyrighted work for educational or instructional uses, criticism of the work, commentaries on the work, news reporting about the work, teaching on the work (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship uses, and research. This is talked about fully in Section 107 of the Copyright Code (commonly called Fair Use) and is available for you to read at your local library. Copyright Infringement in day-to-day life Sometimes, if you?re writing a paper for work or school, or if you are creating a Power Point presentation, you need to use someone?s work that is already in copyright. So how do you use it without committing copyright infringement? All you have to do is ask ? the worst they can say is no, right? But, if they do say no, there are several items in the public domain which may help you to finish your project without having to commit copyright infringement. What is the public domain, and how does it relate to copyright infringement? Material that is not copyrighted is considered in the public domain ? you cannot commit copyright infringement on works in the public domain. These works include things that the copyright has expired on, or is not copyright-able ? such as government publications, jokes, titles, and ideas. Some creators (writers, musicians, artists, and more) deliberately put their work in the public domain, without ever obtaining copyright, by providing an affiliation with Creative Commons. Creative Commons allows people who create materials to forfeit some, or all, of their copyright rights and place their work either partially or fully in the public domain. So, how do I ensure I?m not committing copyright infringement? First of all, if you?re going to use someone else?s material, you may want to check the public domain to see if something is suitable for use, instead of trying to use someone else?s copyright. However, if you can?t find something suitable (and you can?t create something yourself), the next best thing (and your only legal course of action) is to find a piece that is in copyright, and contacting the copyright holder. When you contact the copyright holder, make sure you tell them what you want to use their piece for ? whether it?s for your blog, podcast, or report ? and ask them if you can use it. You may have to pay royalties, or an attribution in your piece, or a combination of both. The creator may also place many limitations on when and how you can use their material. Follow all these instructions they give you, and you?ll be free and clear to use their work as you want. Once you have permission to use a copyrighted work, you need to make sure you stay within the agreed-upon boundaries - if you veer outside their agreed terms, you may open yourself up for a copyright infringement lawsuit ? which can be nasty, costly, and time consuming. If you?re in doubt, before contacting the copyright holder, contact a copyright lawyer to ensure you?re following the law ? and protect yourself!
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