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Copyright 101

Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images

Copyright 101

You've woken up in the middle of the night numerous times. Your mind has been restless, lyrics keep whispering in your head and the melody keeps you humming during the day. Eventually you put the pieces together and finish writing the song that has been haunting you. You proceed to record your masterpiece, making sure that every detail is in the right place. After all said done, you ask yourself "Now What?"

Protect your music
Its true, the moment you write a song, whether it be on a piece of paper, tablet, or phone your song is copyrighted to an extent. You may ask yourself, “Why bother with registering with the Copyright office?”

Benefits of copyright.
When you register a song with the Copyright office, that composition has an official record in the United States. Copyrighted material is granted protection against infringement. The owner also has the ability to register the song with U.S Customs to protect the song when used over seas. More info available

Copyright basics
1. Prepare derivative works based upon the work.
You have the right to make a new version (derivative) of the song. A translation into a different language, a different musical arrangement or sound recording could be considered derivative. Imagine your song is such a success that someone wants to record a new “version" of your work. They would have to get permission from the copyright holder.

2.Distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. You have the right to sell, rent, and lend what you have created. It is your property, this grants you the right to stop unauthorized distribution of your song.

3. Perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audio­ visual works. Many may know that you have the right to perform your song in a public venue. Another aspect of public performance would be TV commercials, TV shows, or movies. The use of your composition in any of these cases without obtaining the proper licenses would be a violation of your right.

4. Display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work. The owner of a copyright has the right promote, display and market their work publicly. Examples of this could be clothing apparel or swag.

5. Perform the work publicly (in the case of sound recordings*) by means of a digital audio transmission. The use of your song on the radio, streaming services like Pandora and Spotify is considered a digital audio transmission.

These are the basic rights of a copyright holder; with the proper protection of your work you increase the success of your creation.

Emmanuel Hernandez
Trovador Music Publishing

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