The Simple Guide
Are you worried that the samples you’re using in your tracks are illegal? Or wondering if you’re breaking the law by downloading that mp3? Or are you just concerned that people don’t copy your own, carefully put together, original material?
Before you start that download, or release that song, copyright for music can be a confusing subject, and it is worth researching music copyright laws in detail. Below are some essential things to know about copyright for music, from expert producers.
The Essentials for Artists
Q) Is there anything people should consider before looking further into copyright for music?
A) Yes – music copyright laws certainly depend on which country you live in. In most countries, an artist essentially owns the material the instant they create it, as long as it is completely original and not an adaptation someone else’s work without permission. Despite that, most artists ensure their material is fully legally protected by music copyright laws. To do this, some countries require artists to fill out forms in order to enforce copyright for music, in others, there is a completely different method in place.
Taking two major countries as examples UK laws are different from those in the USA.
Copyright for Music in the USA
Q) I expect more of our readers to be coming from the USA – so, for the artists trying to find out how they can protect their music, can you tell us more?
A) In the USA, copyright for music is registered with the US Copyright Office. The cheapest way is registering online at the U.S Electronic Copyrighting Office website, and fill out the Form CO application form. The application requires a $35 fee, and a digital copy of your work – but this is a small price to pay for being on the right side of music copyright laws.
You can also submit a form on paper too – this is the old method, but is still accepted, and costs $45. The form is called Form SR, and to get it you’ll need to request it from the US Copyright Office.
Music Copyright Laws in the UK
Q) OK, so a UK artist wants to copyright their work. How do they go about it?
A) Unlike the USA, there is no official register in the UK, and no forms. Because of this, it is a good idea to be sure your work can be proved legally your own – to do this, you can post a copy of your work to yourself in a registered envelope. Store it without opening it alongside a dated receipt from the post office, and you instantly have evidence of your ownership over your music, and you’ve secured music copyright laws.
Although a lot of other countries follow similar rules, it’s worth finding out the specifics for your own.
Is It Worth The Money and Effort?
Q) Now that I know the basics of copyright for music, I also get the impression it does take a bit of effort – I just want to get on with letting people hear my track. Why should I go to the trouble?
A) Any intellectual property that has no copyright owner is free to people who might try to use the track – or entire album, as the case may be – illegally, and claim it as their own. Once that’s been done it is difficult to prove whether it was originally your work.
It also encourages illegal downloads – if nobody holds the copyright over a song, music copyright laws cannot protect it and it is essentially absolutely free for anyone.
The Essentials for Music Sharers
Q) We all know people share tracks every day without paying a penny for it. So why do we care about music copyright laws?
A) Well, enforcing copyright for music is beneficial all round – artists will not have to worry that others are taking the credit for their hard work, and listeners won’t get song upon song that all sound similar.
Free Legal Music Downloads Sites – Are They Really Legal?
Q) Am I breaking the law, and is it that serious if I download a song for free?
A) Depending on where you got the song, who gave it to you, and which version it was, its unlikely you’ll ever be sure what you’re downloading is legal. This can sometimes have very serious potential consequences.
Legal Music Download Sites
Q) How can I download free music without having to worry about copyright laws?
A) We would advise that your best bet is to look for less-known artists, browse their websites, or just ask them – you’re most likely to get a free song for your efforts and compliments.
Another way is to find websites that support less known artists. Most of the music won’t be free, but will comply with music copyright laws, and will be good quality, cheap and original. Be prepared for spending a bit of time on your search, because sites like this aren’t as well known as ones selling major tracks at a more expensive price in order to be able to comply with music copyright laws.
To start you off, the author Emma Burge has found a great example of legal music download sites here [http://thebestmusicshop.co.uk] where you can download music legally without breaking copyright law. TheBestMusicShop delivers the occasional mp3 to your inbox for nothing if you sign up to their subscriber page, and is a small new site where you’ll find a variety of new original music artists.
John O’Reilly, the music producer featured in this interview, offers expert music advice at ReachingMorePeople.co.uk, a blog created for supporting new music artists and legal music download sites.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Emma_Burge/523927
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