Protect Your Music – Copyright Basics
When you’re in the music industry grind like we are, you have to be on top of your business. When you hear people complaining about bad deals, not being paid or even music being stolen, the primary culprit is simply bad business. Either people are ignorant to the process or they simply didn’t take the right steps to protect themselves from the people who prey on ignorance in the music business.
Copyrighting your music can be one of the easiest ways to make sure your music is protected. It helps provide leverage if there is a dispute over ownership.What is a Copyright?
Well a copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. It generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do things like:
• Reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords (cd’s etc)
• Distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
• Perform or display the work publicly
Within the music production game, people have to have access to your music (or vice versa). The more quality music you can get heard the better your chances are of landing on multiple projects.
The problem with that is artist sometimes get too much music and can’t keep track of who did what track. In this era of music, artist are putting out music so quickly, at times, they won’t even bother to check who produced a record and will just put it out (bad business).
True story .. We passed out several beat cd’s to some artists some years back. One day we receive a call from Artist C, congratulating us on a hot record on Artist A’s mixtape.. So we’re like, what song is this? Artist A says the song is named this, on whatever mixtape, and that he remembers the beat from our beat cd.
So we get a hold of the mixtape and it is our track. We get in contact with the artist and the management. To say the least, they weren’t as cooperative as we would have hoped.
So we had to holla at our attorney, and of course the first thing he asks.. “Did you guys copyright the music?”
Being that we’re not into bad business, we reply “Hell Yeah!”. With that info, our attorney was able to contact the artist’s label and get things resolved.
This is just one of the examples as to how copyrighting your music can save you from getting in a jam.
To get more information on copyrights and to file a copyright visit: www.copyright.gov/
For an electronic filing fee of $35, it can protect you from those people who practice bad business.
Yeah it can get a little expensive, but if you’re serious about your craft, you’ll be better off taking care of it, or it can take care of you.
Arkatech Beatz are a Grammy nominated hip-hop production duo from New York now based in Atlanta. They were affiliated with Loud Records/ Sony Music Ent as A&R’s and have produced for artists such as Big Pun, Nas, Raekwon, Waka Flocka Flame, Killer Mike, Jadakiss, Shawty Lo, Alley Boy, Max B and others. The team consists of Jugrnaut. & Mike “Trauma” D