CONTRACTS, COPYRIGHTS, AND PUBLISHING
It’s not easy to make money in the music business.
And, when you do make money, you
have to make sure you aren’t going to get sued for something you were unaware of.
this reason, it is necessary to be completely aware of copyrights, publishing laws, and the
details of recording contracts.
Before you sign anything, you should be in complete
understanding of what the contract entails.
Before you sign away your publishing rights,
you should have more than just a vague idea of what you are doing.
The music business
is no joke; one wrong move can cost you everything.
A career that took you years to
establish could be destroyed in a matter of minutes.
Copyrighting, Fair Use, and Intellectual Property
First and foremost, it is crucial that as an artist, you get your work(s) copyrighted.
will protect your music (your intellectual property).
Unless your work is being used as
“fair use,” the artist will have to grant permission to use the copyrighted material.
Generally, the artist will be paid.
This, of course, leads to the definition of “fair use.”
One example of fair use would be photocopying sheet music for the purpose of page
In other words, if an orchestral piece has been purchased, and if photocopying
makes the performances of said piece go smoothly, then the copyright owner is (a) not
losing any money, since the piece has been purchased, and (b) possibly benefiting from
Another example of fair use would be using a song for educational
Additionally, using a song during a news broadcast is considered fair use.
What happens if you use something that isn’t yours?
Let’s say a band decides to take
samples from another band’s song.
The first band doesn’t get the rights to use this
copyrighted material, and a few months later the song debuts on MTV.
Once the second
band hears about this song, they can file a lawsuit.
The first band can kiss their careers
goodbye… unless their song was a parody.
Making a parody of a song using samples from the original is NOT considered a