MUSIC INDUSTRY

Copyrights basics: What you need to do to secure your work

Copyright was created in order to provide artists with protection from others stealing and using their creations and work, whether it is published or unpublished and still work in process. Copyright allows the owner of the work, be it a song, art piece or show to decide if they will allow changes to be made to their work, or others to use their work in various ways.

Sometimes other artists would like to make a reproduction of their specific song, or perhaps use their song as a base from which they can create their own music. Any changes to an original piece that has a copyright, needs the permission of the artist first, in order to avoid copyright fraud and plagiarism.

Any violation of a copyright law is a serious offense. This can be done through selling or exhibiting someone else’s work as your own. It’s extremely important to showcase your own work, and if you are using a song or other artistic piece from someone else, make sure to get their permission, which usually involves offering a percentage of your revenues from their work.

Who can claim copyright?

Copyright works very simply. Once the artist or owner of the work starts to create their song, for example, copyright protection starts from this point and the owner has full rights in allowing or prohibiting someone from using their work. However in some instances for example the work is created in order to be hired out for a sum of money. In that case the person who made the purchase has full rights over the work. This is also true for work that is done by an employee under the employment of a large company. In these cases, the employer has the copyright advantage even though the work was created by the employee, as the employee created the work while employed and being paid to do so.

What work is protected?

The main aim of copyright law is to protect original work from being misused or stolen. You can use copyright law in a variety of work related settings, such as musical works, choreography, video or audio works and architectural or graphic works. Generally speaking this law pertains to creative works.

However, not everything is protected through copyright law. Work that is not tangible for example, such as processes, methods, systems, recipes and unoriginal work are difficult to protect with a copyright, and you’re probably better off keeping quiet about these things to avoid others from using them.

How to secure a copyright

So now that you know what copyright is and why it’s important for your work, you’re probably wondering how to get it. Well, here’s something interesting. Copyright law protects your work automatically, from the moment you started working on it, however you’ll need to have evidence of when you started working on your creative piece in order to support your claim. We’ll take a look at some important things that you can do to make sure that the copyright law works on your side and that you can keep your work protected.

It is extremely important to mark your work correctly. Through displaying the fact that your original work is protected under the law, you avoid any misunderstanding if someone infringes on the law and uses your work for their benefit. If you express that you take plagiarism very seriously, it can also help to deter people from using your work without your permission.

Although copyright law protects your work automatically from the moment you begin to create it, if you have a claim, you’ll need to be able to prove when you started creating your work. In order to avoid lost opportunities and to really make sure that you are protected, it is advisable to register your work as soon as possible. There are a variety of registration services to choose from, you can find many online, but make sure to use a service that will date your work, as this is extremely important.

Once you have your work registered there are a few things that you can do to add extra security to your creation so that there is no doubt that you are the creator and owner. The first thing you can do is keep evidence that shows the progression of your work. This can include brainstorming notes, first drafts and sketches, something to show how you worked on the idea. You should also have, what many call a watermark in your final creation. This can be in the form of a signature or a tiny error done deliberately, just something that can identify you as the original owner.

Copyright law also protects the work created by joint efforts of two or more people. But be clear from the get go about the goal for the work that was created and any limits on its sharing that you and your partner would like to impose. And of course it goes without saying to make sure this is documented.

The internet has made it possible for our work to be shared easily and for us to reach an international audience quickly than in days gone by may have taken a long time. That being said, piracy and illegal downloads are rampant online and you need to make sure that your work is extra secure before uploading your content for all to see.

Copyright law protects both physical and electronic creations. Make sure that your work is protected by requiring that people ask your permission before downloading. You also don’t want people to have the opportunity to make money off of your work by sharing it, so keep your creations secure and protected, so that you can take legal action if the need arises. When uploading your content you can embed information into it in order to avoid piracy. Another great tip is instead of uploading a high quality version of your work, either a song recording or painting for example, submit a poor quality version with the option to download an original at a cost.

The copyright law is there to protect you and your work, so it’s up to you to make sure that you use it and enforce it.

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