In decades past, music was thought of as the sure fire path to use to achieve fame and fortune. Today, however, the lines are much more blurred. This is due, in part, to issues regarding copyright and music ownership. If you do not protect your music’s copyrights, it will be impossible to make a profit from it. In today’s highly digital world of super fast download and streaming speeds, this is a bigger problem than ever before.
How to Understand a Copyright
The primary way to ensure you are the legal owner of your own music is through the use of copyright. Copyright is a form of intellectual property that gives legal ownership of a specific creative work such as a story, play or piece of music to the author of that work. Unlike other kinds of intellectual property such as trademarks and patents, copyrights do not need to be registered with the government to legally exist. Instead, the copyright’s existence is inferred from the moment of creation for a given number of years after creation or death of the author as determined by law. The copyright allows you to do what you want with your music including possibly licensing it or outright selling it to others who would then become the copyright owner.
Work With a Lawyer
Despite the fact that it’s not mandated to register a copyright, doing so regardless is a good strategy for strengthening the protections for a creative work such as music. Work with a lawyer with copyright experience when registering your copyrights with the government. Doing so can help assist you if you ever need to take another party to court for copyright infringement. If another party steals and publishes your work without your permission, a copyright lawyer can help you sue to have that publication revoked and obtain any financial damages you are owed from that fraudulent publication. Some companies, such as Carter and West Law Firm, know that a lawyer can also help create contracts for licensing or selling your music on your own terms.
Something you should be aware of as an artist is that you could also be guilty of copyright infringement yourself and not even be aware of that fact. While it would be unlikely that you would willingly steal someone else’s music, you could end up incorporating copyrighted aspects into your music without even knowing it. For example, if the melody of your song is too similar to another well known song, you could be sued for infringement. The same would be the case if your lyrics are too similar to another artist’s. While such things may not be done on purpose, they can still result in lawsuits. Working with copyright lawyers can help you avoid such problems.
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes some effort to prove you own a piece of music. While copyright exists from creative inception, legally filing for protection with a lawyer may be the best choice. You may also need a lawyer to help you fight copyright infringement, avoid committing it yourself and to sell or license your music. Overall, protecting your ownership of music or any creative work may require some work.