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How to copyright music
How to Copyright Music for the Beginner
For those wondering how to copyright music the answer can be both long and short. The first thing to remember is that most people are confused about exactly what it means to actually copyright music. Music is actually copyrighted as soon as it is presented in a fixed form. It doesn't really matter whether that fixed form is as written sheet music or as a recording.
Most people are looking for solid legal protection and while a copyright is good to have, it is essentially worthless unless you've actually gone to the effort of also registering your copyright. Rather than asking 'how to copyright music', perhaps the better question would be 'what do I do now that I've copyrighted my music?'
It doesn't really matter what you call it unless you're moving around in legal or industry circles I suppose, but I've always felt that it's a good idea to have a clue about the process in which you are embarking. Now that we've answered how to copyright music, it's time to move on to the real issue, which is registering your copyright. Music is registered through the U. S. Copyright Office. You will need to fill out an application, pay a fee, and provide a copy of your music. As far as government dealings go, this is one of the least painful. Even the fee is marginal when you consider your 'hopeful' future profits and royalties.
All that aside, there is something that is massively satisfying about knowing how to copyright music and having your first piece of music registered. Music is an art form and the ability to write music is nothing insignificant. It is a real talent that is actually quite rare. Many popular musicians today use music that has been written by others either in addition to or rather than music that they have written themselves. Even if you aren't a talented performer, it doesn't mean that your music will never be seen or heard or that you should not bother learning how to copyright music. You just might find that you are more in demand for your particular talents than you would have ever dreamed possible.
The big thing to remember though is not to sit around wondering how to copyright music but to get out there and go about the process of creating and making more wonderful music to share with the world. It takes all kinds of music to keep this world turning and there is someone out there that is waiting to hear the music that you create. The process of how to copyright music is completely free. The process of registering your copyright is worth every penny you will spend. It is important to protect your music now more than ever with piracy and widespread downloading providing significant reductions in profits for everyone involved.
The music industry is also a very fickle industry and you need to maximize your profit potential and usefulness. Once you understand how to copyright music, you need to make sure every piece of music you have has been copyrighted, then you need to go through your music and systematically register each and every piece as well. Even if you must do one piece at a time until you manage to register the copyright on them all, it is much better to be safe than sorry should you ever go to trial in a copyright infringement case. Also remember to pay it forward and support up and coming musicians by sharing the information of how to copyright music and how to register copyrights as well.
Big Time Experience with Small Time Publications (writing newsletter articles) When you start writing, you may have ambitions of getting your name on the front page of newspapers and on feature stories in magazines, but you will soon find out that it takes time to get there. Even the best writers have to make their way through the ranks before making it to headline status. Don?t be discouraged though. Even though you may have been rejected more times than you could have ever imagined, there are still many places that will be accepting. Even if you feel like you?ve exhausted all of your creative power, there are publications that are ready to help you develop even further. The buildup is not leading towards riches or fame, but writing newsletter articles can be a great step in that direction. The first thing that any writer should realize is that there is more to learn. Even knowing all of the grammar and all of the clarity rules will not make you a good writer. Only experience can bring you to that place. Newsletters are a great place to start getting cleaning up your writing and to start learning to write for different audiences. Who Prints Newsletters? Why are newsletters such a great place to start earning publications? There are plenty of organizations and groups that print them. The printing money and the circulation are already in place. The other great thing about writing newsletter articles is that there is almost always a high demand for newsletter writers. The pay is not great and is most often non-existent, but the newsletters must go out all the same. Hit up any organization in town that you know prints a newsletter. Some of the printing is done nationally for the larger organizations, but many will be done locally. Try volunteer and non-profit organizations as well as university and church groups. These organizations will all have news that they need to get to the public. Many of them survive based on public donations. What that means for you is that there is plenty of demand for talented and interesting writers. The Expert in Print If you have any sort of claim to expertise along with your writing skills, you will be a fantastic candidate for writing newsletter articles. One great draw for a reader is the pull of a well researched and authoritative article. Imagine the thrilled group of environmentalists when you approach them with evidence that the developmental process for non-stick pan coating is connected to the decreasing population of Asian tortoises. You?d have a job in no time. Regardless of whether or not you got paid for your work, you can expect that you?d get repeated assignments, growing experience and bylines galore for your next step of job applications. Being knowledgeable about a certain subject will give you many writing opportunities. If you have any experience in a subject area, be sure to add it to your resume. As you write newsletter articles, you?ll only add to you?re your expertise. Other Newsletter Articles If you don?t necessarily believe that you have an area of expertise that is not a problem. There are many other ways to get into writing newsletter articles. A big part of newsletter content is just content. Newsletters need to be made up of interesting and varied articles. There are usually volunteers that head up the projects and they in turn hire various writers to fill in the titles that they choose. If you can be flexible in your writing and if you can find a newsletter that works with a topic you care about, you will be well on your way to building your resume with bylines and great circulation. Writing newsletter articles will probably not be a career in itself because of the low pay scale, but it will take you closer to a lucrative writing career. Think of writing newsletter articles as a type of community service. Even after you have added paying pieces to your repertoire you may continue to write for the newsletters that you care about.
Free Copyright Music Free Copyright Music Means Deeper Well for Artist Inspiration Free copyright music is often mistaken with domain free music or music in which the copyright has expired. A copyright is in place for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. If there are more than one writer's for the music, the copyright will be in effect for 70 years after the death of the last surviving contributor. While this rule was set in place in order to ensure that the heirs of the author would also benefit from the royalties after the music's writer or composer was no longer living it is important to remember that these laws are the current laws and music written at different points in time are most likely subject to different copyright laws. When searching for free copyright music it is always a good idea to search through music that is very old rather than focusing your search on more recent musical selections as they will most likely still be under copyright protection. It is important to remember when using free copyright music or public domain music that you must be certain the copy you are using is within the copyright period. Any music that was published before 1922 is public domain music. This does not however include derivatives or new versions of that music which may still be under copyright protection. Finding a copy of the music with the copyright date included, if that date is prior to 1922 is the best route to ensure that you are in compliance with current copyright laws and not infringing on someone else's copyright. It is also important to keep in mind that written music is protected differently than recorded music. Almost every sound recording that has been copyrighted in the United States is protected until 2067. If you absolutely need a sound recording you should either purchase one or make one of your own. There are some free copyright music that will allow free use of the music whether written or recorded, you must be thorough in your search for this music however as it quite rare. Another thing to consider is that copyright laws in the United States are different than they are in other countries and if you wish to use music that is or was under copyright in another country you must follow the laws that apply to the particular piece of music you wish to perform. Free copyright music is available in almost every country and many genres; the trick is in finding great sources where you can easily find this music. There is a project called Mutopia, which operates like project Gutenberg. Mutopia provides free copyright music rather than books however. The Gutenberg project also has a section that is devoted to free sheet music in addition to its wonderful resources for books. Each of these projects provides excellent resources for those who find themselves in need of free copyright music for whatever reason. Whether you are a musician who is seeking inspiration from the music of old or hoping to find a composition, which you can rearrange and make your own, there are many ways in which you can go about achieving your goals that will not violate current copyrights. The key is in learning the laws both where you live and in any countries in which the music you seek to modify. By choosing selectively and listening to your options with an open mind and seeing things with a creative eye, you will find a huge world of opportunity available to you as a musician. Isn't it amazing how free copyright music can have such an effect on your ability to create music that you may someday copyright?