music copyright lawsAs a musician, the lyrics and songs you compose are your livelihood and should be protected. As your music career grows, you should be aware of copyright laws and licensing in order to increase your earning potential and protect your work. We previously wrote about the three ways you can profit from your recorded work, including licensee permissions.

But before you can create a plan on how to gain the largest return on your music, you should know at what point your song becomes “property.” Under the Copyright Act, as soon as your song is “fixed in any tangible medium of expression,” the music is copyrighted. The word “fixed” refers to your song staying in one form for a long enough stretch of time to be established as permanent or stable so that an individual can enjoy the piece.

This means that as long as the lyrics or musical notes are only in your head, the material is not copyrighted. However, as soon as you lay the composition onto paper or a digital recording, you now have a new piece of “intellectual property.” So how much time must pass before your music is considered “fixed?” The first time your music is recorded or written, it is instantly considered “fixed” and therefore becomes your intellectual property.

To gain even greater legal protection, you should record your copyright in the Library of Congress. There is a $35 fee for the service.

Chase Lawyers is a boutique entertainment law firm that advises and represents clients in legal matters related to music, sports, television/film, visual and literary works, modeling, online matters and intellectual property. If you are planning a music career and have questions about copyright laws, contact our Miami entertainment lawyers today to ensure your path to stardom is a smooth one!