Congratulations, you've worked your behind off, spent all your time (and probably money) on creating your album and you're finally finished. But really, the hard work has only just begun! You want to start shopping your album around to labels, PR firms and anyone else who might like it and be able to help you, but before you do that, you have to make sure that no-one hears your great ideas and decides to copy them and cut you out. So how do you do this?
As I've said before, when you create a work, by the glories of Intellectual Property (IP) Law, you own it. And while strictly that is enough on its own, to prove it will usually involve lengthy court proceedings with expensive lawyers and, in all honesty, some big firms will gamble that you're not going to be either willing or able to do this. A way to save all this trouble is to copyright your work. That way, no-one can argue with you. You can, and if you have any doubts, should, hire an attorney to file this for you, however it is possible to do by yourself.
In recent years, this process has become a lot quicker and easier, as it has become possible to make payment and submit works for copyrighting online. Visit http://www.copyright.gov (for the US, different countries have their own sites and procedures). Fill in the application form, pay the fee (anywhere between $35 and $100 depending how much you do online - the more the better!) and upload your files. That's it! Your copyright will be valid for your lifetime plus 70 years after your passing.
It generally takes up to 8 months to process your copyright, but don't worry, your copyright protection will be active from the date you submitted the application and, as I said at the beginning, you're still protected under IP Laws. Just think of copyright as your insurance policy!
Remember, the music business is still a business, so make sure you're protected!
Lily Lambert graduated from The University of Hertfordshire School of Law with Honors, and proceeded to be involved in the Entertainment Law field for the next 8 years.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be, or replace, legal advice. The law is constantly changing and will differ depending on your location, therefore information contained within this blog may not apply to your location or set of circumstances. Nothing in this blog is intended as a substitute for the advice of an attorney. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney licensed to practice within your jurisdiction.