Non-copyrighted music is music that is not protected by copyright. This means that any person can use, perform, or sell the song, since it is not registered under copyright laws. This is why it is so important for artists to make sure that their works are copyrighted. In order to copyright a song, you will usually need to register it formally under federal and state copyright requirements.
Common examples of non-copyrighted music include:
- Songs personally composed by individual or independent performers
- Informal "jingles" or tunes composed for specific purposes
- Songs associated with tradition or common use
How Do I Copyright a Song?
Most people register their songs directly with the U.S. Copyright office. This can be done a number of ways (electronically, by regular mail, etc.). When doing so, you should be sure to keep a copy of the song for your own personal records (you can send a copy to the office; it doesn’t need to be the original copy).
Some companies complete this process for the songwriter. However, you when working with such a company, you will want to follow up and ensure that your song has been officially registered. Some instances of copyright fraud result when a person hands their work to an organization that is not trustworthy.
What Are Some Issues Associated with Copyrights and Music?
Some other legal issues related to copyrights and music include:
- Royalties: Fees paid by record companies to the copyright holder
- Sampling: Usage of copyrighted songs in portions of another song
- Record Contracts: Some record contracts involve a set number of copyrighted songs
- Performances: Copyrights also protect the performance of songs, whether on radio or in person
- Music downloads: Newer internet technologies have made it easier to obtain illegal copies of copyrighted music
Violations of copyright laws (infringement) can result in some legal penalties, including: fines, criminal consequences (jail time), and confiscation of unauthorized works.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Music Copyright Issues?
Music copyright laws are very important when it comes to legally protecting musical compositions and creations. However, copyright laws can sometimes be complex and difficult to understand. You may wish to hire an intellectual property lawyer if you have any needs or issues regarding music and copyright laws. Your attorney can help you secure a copyright, and they can also represent you in court if needed.