Copyright? What does it mean? Why is it important?
Okay stay with me. So here’s the definition of copyright.
The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish perform, film, or record literary, arrest, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.
Basically it means that when you purchase a copyright with the US Government it means that you have the official, legal, exclusive right to your music (or art, film, literate, etc.). You can use it in anyway that you desire. Sell, publish, license, you name it, it’s yours because you got that stamp.
Why is this important?
As a musician, it is always important to register with copyright.gov. Let me explain to you why. There are bad people out there who will steal your song. Especially a really, really good song. They’ll just use it as theirs! And what if it gets big? And you have no proof that you have ownership of this song, or that you created it?
What if you and a friend write a song, and they take it, and play it when they want, record it how they want, publish it on youtube, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, or wherever, it’s without you. Now you have no legal claim to any money they make off your song.
What if you go into a recording studio, record all of your music. And you do this without any copyright, prior negations, or signing of an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement)? They could straight-up keep it forever, use it to their exclusivity, and never let you have any claim to it at all.
You meet with a big time label. They’re interested in your tunes. They take them, and sell them to a big time artist. They made all the moolah. And you get nothing.
Benefits of having the copyright.
None of the scenarios would end in you being taken advantage, if you had a copyright. And especially, if you first had created, printed out, and had them previously sign an NDA stating whatever the terms. In other words, you have full access and right to any music that you composed, and they are not allowed to sell, use for monetary purposes, or perform, talk about it outside of meeting with you, etc. You make the terms.
Now that you have your music copy-writ, we’ll talk about licensing and registering with Performance Rights Organizations. Blog coming about that soon!