Music Copyright Proof

By Craig Straub

The Copyright Act of 1976 states that a copyright is created for a work if it is an original work and fixed in any tangible medium of expression. A copyright exists the moment such a work is created. However, many people choose to go an extra step and register the copyright, which can help put others on notice that you are the owner of the copyright.

The Copyright Act of 1976 states that a copyright is created for a work if it is an original work and fixed in any tangible medium of expression. A copyright exists the moment such a work is created. However, many people choose to go an extra step and register the copyright, which can help put others on notice that you are the owner of the copyright.

Originality Requirement

In order for a work to be original, it must be your own independent creation. No proof of originality is needed in order to register your work with the Copyright Office. However, if an infringement suit is brought against you later, proof of originality will be examined at that time. In the case of music, courts typically look at the similarity of the beat, rhythm, lyrics, and harmony.

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Tangible Medium Requirement

A copyright only protects works that have already been created -- not, for example, just an idea you have for a musical project. In the case of music, it must have been recorded or written down in some tangible form that can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated either directly or with aid of a machine or device. In other words, the music must be put in a form which others can see, read, or play on some device. In order to register the copyright, a copy of the recording or sheet music is typically required.

Copyright Infringement

The owner of a copyright is given basic exclusive rights, which include the right to copy, the right to derive, the right to distribute, the right to perform, the right to display and the right to digitally transmit. If anyone violates these rights, you can bring a copyright infringement suit in federal court. There are also criminal laws that protect intentional copyright infringement. Even though a copyright exists the moment a work is created and placed in a tangible medium, it is necessary to register with the Copyright Office if you ever wish to file a lawsuit against someone for infringement.

Musical Copyright Proof

If an infringement suit is brought, the court will look at various types of proof to determine whether the copyright is valid and whether the other person infringed your copyright. At that time, you need to provide proof of when the music was created and recorded. The owner that registered first is generally presumed to have created it first. However, proof like a digital recording showing the date it was created or a publication date can rebut this presumption. Expert witnesses may be needed to determine the differences in tempo, rhythm, and harmony of each work. If the music is found to be substantially similar to another work, infringement has generally occurred.

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Comic Copyright Laws

References

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Copyrights: How to Protect Something That Is Photocopied

The owner of a copyright holds exclusive rights over the copyright material, including the right to reproduce and distribute copies of the work, even if the work is photocopied. Copying copyrighted work via a photocopier can be copyright infringement if the photocopied content is used to share with colleagues, customers, an entire organization or the general public, for example. The question of how to protect copyrighted content when it is photocopied is the same as protecting copyrighted content. Except for fair use or if some other exemption applies, only the holder of the copyright or his agent has the right to make and distribute copies, including photocopiesof his copyrighted work. Copyright law allows copyright holders to sue for lost profits or statutory damages that result from copyright infringement, in trials that are usually long and expensive. Federal registration provides the best protection over the original works of authorship, over any additional copies and over any unauthorized use of the material. The owner should proactively protect his work, through federal registration and deposit the original copy with the Library of Congress, noting the copyright date and owner's name on each copy. Subsequent registration with the U.S. Custom Service can deter illegal importation of unauthorized copies.

Copyright Issues With Playing Published Music in Public

The U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 creates a monopoly for authors of original musical works. This means that only the copyright holder is allowed to profit from her creation. Included in this monopoly is the right to perform the work in public. As long as you hold the copyright, you can sing your songs as often as you like, in front of as many people as you want. On the other hand, if someone else performs your work in public without permission or paying a royalty, he may have infringed your copyright.

What Makes Something an Original Work for Purposes of Copyright Law?

Copyright protection is only available for works that are original in nature, such as an artist's painting, an author's novel or an architect's drawing. If someone creates a work that is new or different from anything else, chances are he can copyright it.

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