Legal Protection That Helps Musicians Get Paid
"Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression."
- United States Copyright Office Official Website, Copyright.gov
Copyright is a legal concept that grants exclusive rights to the creator of an original work, such as a literary, artistic, musical, or other creative work. These exclusive rights allow the creator to control and benefit from the use of their work, such as reproducing it, creating derivative works, distributing copies, performing it publicly, and displaying it publicly. Copyright protection is automatic upon creation and is intended to encourage creativity and innovation by providing legal protections to creators for a limited period of time before the work enters the public domain.
How Copyright Law Protects Musicians
The United States Copyright Law provides legal protection for artists of creative works. The law gives music creators six exclusive rights, making it illegal for others to use their music without permission. The six protections cover each of the various ways music is used. If you write a song, only you can record, photocopy, perform in public, rearrange, or play a recording of your song on the radio; television; or web.
How Copyright Helps Musicians Make Money
Musicians make money by giving permission to use their music. If you create music, you can share your exclusive rights with others for a fee. This is called music licensing. On the flip side, if you use music that belongs to someone else, depending how you use it, you need to get permission via different types of licenses. Without the protection of the Copyright Law, anyone could use music without paying for it, and the creator would never get paid. With the law, there are several ways musicians can make money. Your copyright ownership is granted automatically once you've fixed your work to a tangible medium. In order to enforce copyright ownership, however, creators must register their work with the US Copyright Office and may be entitled to monetary damages if their rights are infringed upon.