One of the biggest challenges that artists face every day is creating something new, rather than drawing on the same inspiration for every work they create. After creating a new beat or writing a new song, it is expected that a music artist will try to show off their latest work to other professionals in the industry.
But what would you do if someone steals your idea and presents it as their own? It could be a nightmare scenario for an artist that can lead to emotional stress and financial loss.
It can happen to anyone in the music industry, whether they are a junior artist, a veteran, or just someone who has the desire to be a part of the creative scene. Music is designed to be mass-produced and mass-consumed, so it can be important to take the necessary steps to protect it.
What role does copyright law play in the music industry?
Whether the work of musical art is a short jingle or a film soundtrack, the music creators own all of the legal rights associated with it, absent any contractual agreement stating otherwise.
Copyright law aims to protect the creators of the original music and gives them the exclusive right to use and monetize their work. Most types of music that are played in a public place require official permission from the copyright holders to do so.
If an individual or entity uses the copyrighted work without permission, the copyright owner can pursue a legal claim against them. If you have copyrights over your music, you would not have to worry about someone stealing it and profiting from it. You can take the legal steps necessary to protect your intellectual property.
It is also important to understand that there is a line between taking inspiration from someone’s work and blatantly copying it. Copyright law can provide you with the exclusive rights to your work, which prevents other people or entities from using it without your permission.
When your creative works are protected, you can hold infringers accountable. A Los Angeles entertainment lawyer can help you keep everything on track and avoid any issues relating to intellectual property rights.
What types of music can be licensed?
Here is a brief guide to help you understand what types of music can be licensed:
- Specially composed music
If you have composed music or recorded a song on your own, you should have all of the associated rights to protect your work from infringement. If you have created the work in connection with an agency or a production company, you should consider entering an agreement with them with respect to the copyright.
This agreement should clearly state how many times the agency or production company plans to use the same audio or track and in what context. All these terms should be clear before proceeding further with the relationship.
- Commercial music
The songs you hear on the radio, iTunes, and other similar applications usually fall under commercial music licenses. In certain circumstances, it is not permitted for someone to publicly play a piece of music without prior legal permission from the copyright holder. If the permission is not granted, the artist or the copyright holder can pursue a claim against you if you violate their copyright.
If you are an artist, it is important to ensure that your work is safe from all types of infringement. If you have a question about your intellectual property rights, you should contact a legal professional who can help you understand the process of copyrighting your work.
- Library music
Library music comprises a music catalog that may include music from films, televisions, and singles. Most music libraries will ask users for a fee in exchange for permission to use the works within.
Some music libraries may require that you give credit to the music library or to the artist when you use specific tracks. This is why it is important to know how your work is being used and how it is being protected.
How long does music copyright protection last?
If you are new to the music industry, it is important for you to try to become familiar with the relevant laws. Without proper knowledge of laws and customs, a newcomer to the industry may make a costly mistake. Therefore, one should have in-depth knowledge of the music laws before starting working in the industry.
With regard to music law, copyright protection for music generally will last for the author’s life and 70 years after the death of the person. If the work was originally published before 1978, the term of copyright would depend on a number of factors. These works are generally protected for 75 years, which is calculated from the date of the copyright registration.
Can you protect the name of a musical band or a group?
It is important to understand here that copyright law cannot protect a musical band or group’s name. To protect the name of a musical band or group, you would have to look at other aspects of intellectual property (IP), which includes patent rights, trademarks, and trade secrets.
Here, a unique name can often be trademarked. Without a trademark of the name, you may only be able to use your band’s name in a specific geographic location. This means you may not be able to use it in every place that you would want to. It can be a good idea to seek the help of a Los Angeles trademark lawyer so that you can avoid unnecessary trouble down the line.
You should consider getting a trademark if you wish to protect the name and its distinctiveness. Registering the copyright for your music can further protect the work that you, your band, or your group creates. All music artists should consider registering their work to help ensure they have exclusive rights to use it and monetize it.