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History tells of music as a representation of various concepts, including human personalities, perception of character and beauty, religious inclination, and human experiences. 

But the same music may have different interpretations from people. Music appreciation and perception differ from person to person, depending on their social orientation and experience.

You hear music daily in train stations, bus stops, malls, and markets. You may notice that many singers perform the same song, and sometimes you’re no longer sure who’s the original. It’s why some musicians struggle to keep their songs from being used by people without permission. 

Some Reasons Why Musicians Struggle With Their Songs’ Unauthorized Use

1. It’s Due To Tolerance

For lack of information on intellectual property law, some musicians failed to enforce their right to protect their artistic creations. Under the law, the music you create is protected from the time you have it recorded and documented as yours. You have every right over it, like economic and moral rights.

Moral rights over your song or music include the right to have your name as originator over the piece, which they call the right to paternity. There’s also the right to integrity that will prevent anybody from changing the contents of the music, which may be detrimental to its author’s reputation. Another is the right of the author to stop anyone from using their music in advertisements and other propaganda.

Generally, when someone uses your music without your consent, you should send them a notice of violation or cease and desist letter. Failing to do this, you gave them an implication of your consent. It may provide these violators with more opportunities to abuse your silence. Sometimes, your silence may mean you allow them such use. The courts may take it against you if you sleep on your rights.

In some jurisdictions, tolerance or sleeping on your rights may cause you to lose your rights.

2. Your Music Wasn’t Copyrighted

Of course, there’s no violation if no law prohibits using your song or music. 

You must first register your work under the copyright laws in your state before you can impose your right. Only then can you hold someone liable for using your creation without your express authority. 

The copyright registration process usually starts by depositing your work and submitting your copyright application at your intellectual property office. It’s where you will be guided through the process. Your IP office will also ensure that you will be given a proper orientation regarding your rights and duties as an IP owner. 

You can also seek the assistance of experts in IP laws or your IP attorneys in the area to help you in the registration processes and reduce your stress over its legal terms and procedures.

3. Your Work’s Copyright Expired

The expiry date of your copyrighted material is posted in your patent approval notice. You cannot give information for public users to stop, nor sue the people using your music when your copyright has expired. Your music has entered the public domain.

When the copyright registration of your artistic expression has expired, it has become the property of the public. Anyone may now use it without your consent or the need to pay you. People can use it without fear of copyright infringement or violating intellectual property laws.

Reproduction, distribution, and public performance of the work are not illegal and will not result in any legal problems. Anyone can do new representations inspired by your original work, such as cover versions, remixes, inclusion in their playlists, or other derivative expressions. They can use it for profit or non-profit purposes even without your permission. 

4. The Fair Use Policy

There are a few exceptions to the laws that protect copyrighted materials under intellectual property laws. One of these is known as the “fair use” policy. This rule allows people a limited use of your copyrighted content without permission for various purposes. The uses include research, criticism, news reporting, teaching, and commentary.

The principle of fair use was developed to balance the rights of those who registered their music under copyright law and the general interest in furthering knowledge and creativity.

But the limitations under the policy are exclusive under the law. So your copyrighted work will not be used to profit without your consent in the guise of educational or research development.

The Bottom Line

You may think that copyright laws are just one of those additional expenses that you can do away with. But with the protection of copyright and intellectual property laws, you will indeed be able to protect the value of your music.

So, rather than struggle with going after unscrupulous individuals using your musical creation, check the links in this section to help you benefit from the copyright provisions.

Published by HOLR Magazine.