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An essential step for any artist – especially important at the beginning of your career – is to ensure that your music is registered in your name and protected by copyright. Then no one can successfully accuse you of having stolen it – or get away with stealing it from you and claiming it as their own. We will explain three ways of protecting your musical creation, whether you’re in DIY mode or a paperwork pro.
Although it’s not pleasant to think about, anyone can steal your work if you don’t protect it before making it public. And, on the other hand, you can also be accused of stealing what you release. To defend yourself in such disputes, you must be able to show that you are the original composer of the music and/or writer of the lyrics. This is the whole point of copyright registration: to officialize the date of creation of your work in your name. This way, you can prove that you are its original creator.
The purpose of copyright or music registration: to formalize the date of creation of your work in your name, thus generating proof that you are the creator of the original work. This way, if someone accuses you of stealing the music, or seeks to appropriate it as their own, you will have this proof under your arm to show in court.
All the methods of registering and protecting your sounds that we describe below are valid in most countries of the European Union. We will give you more information about the US and the UK at the end of the article.
Once you have the composition, the lyrics, or the first song recording on a USB key or other medium, you are technically already protected by copyright. Still, you must officialize your creation date to show that you own its original version.
You can do this yourself by sending your work to your own address by certified mail, then keeping the sealed envelope at home. This way, you have a dated proof of your creation.
Attention: this is not a foolproof way because the legal system does not always consider it sufficient to prove that you are the work’s creator.
You can also register your work with a notary or a bailiff. This is a solid option, open to any artist, but you will need to discuss the fee with your provider to make sure you can afford it.
Institutions are more expensive, but they are the most secure way to protect your work as a songwriter.
Some CMOs can protect your tracks for an additional fee. Other societies, like Safe Creative, also enable you to establish authorship through various other plans.
In summary, the best solution is to protect your music by joining a CMO which offers a legal protection service on top of its rights management services, and so will take care of this for you. That way you will be free of stress around the matter, leaving you free to concentrate on the fun part of your musical career: making music!
If you have created your tracks in the United States or the United Kingdom, you must comply with the local rules. In this case:
As a reminder, in the UK as in the US, it is the person who finances the work who owns the copyright, unlike in the EU where it is the person who creates the work. Of course, the person who finances can also be the author, composer, or songwriter, especially when they are independent. You can find more information in this article.
The principle of copyright in the UK and the US is to protect the person who finances the creation of a work from the moment it has a physical form. As such, in the US, the funder has to register its track with a dedicated national organization like the US Copyright Office. In the UK, he or she can just do the DIY option explained above.
If you want to know more and exchange with other artists who have been there, don't hesitate to join our Discord server or to contact our team on email@example.com!
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