Copyright Law

5 important steps to protecting your music

From the moment you create content, it belongs to you. But is it protected? Whether you’re creating music, videos, documents, imagery, or other content, things can get hairy when it comes to collaborating, selling, licensing, or going after someone who misused your work. 

by RHEA GHOSH from CD Baby’s DIY Musician.

Use these tips to help safeguard your content:

1. Discuss ownership and rights with your collaborators

Discussing ownership and permission to license and/or sell your content beforehand with your collaborators will save you time, money and the frustration of content-related issues (e.g. lawsuits, arguments, loss of income, etc.) in the future.

2. Document ownership 

Without an agreement in place, the collaborators you worked with on the creation of your content can claim an equal share of your content, regardless of how minor or major their contribution is. 

To document each collaborator’s ownership and contribution to your content, you can create a variety of agreements. Through our partner Cosynd, you can build, negotiate, redline, and e-sign vital copyright agreements with your collaborators for all of your content — choose from collaboration, producer, or work-for-hire agreements for only $30 each or a simple split sheet for free!

3. Document costs 

Be sure to document all of the costs associated with creating your content. 

If you are paying a contractor, you can use a “work for hire” agreement. A work for hire agreement clearly establishes your ownership of the content created and also outlines the scope and terms of the work and services to be done, including responsibilities, payment terms, credit, dispute resolution and more.

4. Register with the Copyright Office

Registering your music copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office is one of the strongest forms of legal protection against infringement and misuse of your work. It’s mandatory before you can even file a lawsuit.

Thanks to Cosynd, registering your copyright doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. They make it easy to protect all of your content—literary works, illustrations, images, and more—in minutes, and all for just $25 (plus federal filing fees). That’s nearly 80% less than similar services.

5. Document usages, sales, representations etc.

Have written legal agreements in place with anyone that will contribute to, use, license, distribute, buy, or represent your content in any way that clearly outlines the permissions you are granting.

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