What Is Music Copyright?
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Music Copyright ©
What is a Copyright?
Music Copyright is a very important aspect of the music industry. The Copyright law was established to preserve the creativity and rights of authors, composers, performers of expression. Copyright is the law that protects the property rights of the creator of an original work in a fixed tangible medium. (
What works can be copyrighted?
Copyright applies to more than musical works. It protects many different things. It protects musical works, literary works, dramatically works, dance works (choreography), sculptures, graphic works (maps, graphs, etc.), pictorial works, motion pictures (videotapes), sound recordings, and even computer creations (computer programs, databases). (
How can an artist copyright their work?
Copyright protection begins with the musical expression being in a fixed tangible or material form. Immediately after the works in that form, the artist should then sign their name on it with the copyright symbol on as well. This establishes the artist as the creator of that work. It is not illegal for a person to write the symbol on their work themselves. The correct way to place a copyright symbol on your original fixed tangible medium is like this:
Copyright © 2001 Aja Star Lane
For record companies it, looks like this:
© 2001 Virgin Records. All Rights Reserved. (
This states the day of creation of a musical work. If you do not have the money for the legal fees of the federal copyright process yet, the first thing an artist should do with a musical work is the “poor mans copyright”. Poor mans copyright is when the artist puts their fixed tangible medium in an envelope with appropriate postage stamps and mails it back to themselves without opening it. This postmark creates proof of the creator and is the date of creation for the musical work.
Why should an artist copyright an original work?
Copyrighting a musical expression just ensures that an artist is the creator of that work. There are a couple of reasons why an artist should copyright their original works. The main one is the creator of a work wants to be able to protect his or her work. Also, financial gain from suing. There would not be any purpose in creating music without financial gain for some. If you live in the United States and legally registered your musical works you have the ability to sue. (
What are the exclusive rights of a copyright holder?
Each copyright holder has certain rights when determining what they can do with their original works. US copyright law gives copyright owners these five rights. First, they have the right to reproduce the copyrighted work. (
Infringement means when someone violates the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. (
The Doctrine of Fair Use is an exception to the rights of the copyright holder. Fair Use or fair practice, is the utilization of a portion of a copyrighted material for the purposes of a parody, news reporting/criticism, research, and education without the permission of the creator. (