It's the year 2015 and it seems everyone is trying to be a DJ or music producer. However, that should not discourage you from achieving your dreams of being a DJ or a producer. This year should be the year to commit yourself to the goal of taking your music career further. Let a music lawyer help you achieve your dreams.

Why Copyright your music?

If you are serious about your music career, it would be wise to register your songs with the United States Copyright Office. This will protect you in the event that someone steals your songs and claims them as their own. 

How to Copyright your music?

The U.S. Copyright Office allows you to register your music via an online registration system called eCo Registration System by visiting www.copyright.gov/eco/.

Registering a song involves 3 steps: 1. Completing an application, 2. Making a payment of $35, and 3. Uploading your work. First thing you should do is to create an account. The online process is pretty straight forward but should you have any questions regarding the process, visit eCO Frequently Asked Questions or read eCo's Application Tutorial

A few tips regarding the registration process that you will find useful:

  • Use the online registration process over the mailing process. Online registration is a much more straightforward process.
  • Register your music as "sound recording" as this protects you for performance as well as the underlying music itself. 

The registration process will take six months up to a year for the Copyright office to process your process. However, once you have submitted your work, you have officially protected yourself. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding the registration process. 

What are the benefits of Copyright Registration?
why-should-i-copyright-my-music.jpg

If someone infringes and steals your work, registering your work will help prove that the work is yours. You no longer have to worry about someone stealing your work and taking credit for you. This will allow you to sue for damages. Further, registering for copyright grants you the following exclusive rights: 

  • The right to distribute your music
  • The right to make copies of your work
  • The right to create derivative works such as alternate versions or remixes
  • The right to display the product publicly
  • The right to perform the song publicly
What is Creative Commons and what are its benefits?

Creative Commons is an alternative way you can copyright your work which grants copyright protection for some rights instead of all rights being reserved. This allows other artists to use your work for certain purposes without getting your permission from you first.

Creative Commons allows people to use your music without dealing with legal repercussions. A Creative Commons license gives the public permission to share and use your creative work on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you change your copyright terms from the default "all rights reserved" protection to "some rights reserved" which as supports creativity, sharing, and innovation. Further, all Creative Commons licenses require at least attribution to the copyright owner. 

There are 6 types of Creative Commons licenses:

  • CC Attribution - Allows for all copying, modification, and redistribution, provided that the original author is attributed.
  • CC Attribution ShareAlike - The same conditions as CC Attribution above apply, except that all derivate work must be licensed the same way. This ensures that all resulting work remains free.
  • CC Attribution NoDerivs - Redistribution is allowed, under the condition that attribution is given and no modifications are made.
  • CC Attribution NonCommercial - Everything is allowed with attribution, provided that it is not done commercially.
  • CC Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike - The same as above, but derivative work must be under the same license.
  • CC Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs - Redistribution is allowed for noncommercial use and without any modification.

For example, you might allow your song to be used in a non-commercial product where is no financial profit without forcing the licensee to get permission from you, but still reserve the right to collect a royalty if the product is a money-maker. For more information regarding Creative Commons, please visit http://creativecommons.org/about.

How can I promote my music as an artist?

The internet has become the best way to promote your music. There are many venues which allow you to sell your music via iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and various many other online retailers. However, a lot of artists just have no idea where to start when it comes to music promotion on the internet. Most use Facebook and Soundcloud to promote their music but stop there. They aren't sure what the next step should be. That's where Mollaei Law can help develop your music career. 

If you want to be successful promoting and distributing your music online, it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of hard work. You also need knowledge on how the music business works to successfully navigate your way around promoters, other music DJ's, record labels, personal managers, business managers, and agents. 

How can a music lawyer help you with your music career?

Lawyers in the music business do much more than just look over contracts and advise artists about the law. They are very involved in organizing deals and shaping artists' business lives. Music lawyers have evolved into one of the most powerful influencers in the music industry. Music lawyers are involved in all areas of an artists' career.

A music lawyer can come up with a clever concept or business strategy to further an artist's career. Further, a music lawyer helps make the introduction to other powerful influencers in the music industry including agents, business managers, record labels, other DJ's, personal managers, and promoters. These connections create long-lasting relationships which may ultimately garner you music deals to further your music career. 

Moreover, a music lawyer can provide services reviewing and providing guidance on the following contracts and agreements: 

  • Records & Publishing Contracts
  • Live Performance Agreements
  • Sponsorship & Merchandising Agreements
  • Distribution Contracts
  • Marketing Contracts

As an artist, you need to make sure you are being fairly treated while maximizing your creative potential. It is important that the terms of contracts are fairly negotiated, properly drafted, and reviewed to ensure the contract meets your interests. At Mollaei Law, we provide the necessary legal advice and service to be able to succeed in your creative field without any legal worries. 

What are some questions to ask your potential music lawyer?

If you are considering hiring a music lawyer, you should ask these questions before you retain a lawyer:

  1. Do you have expertise in the music business? 
  2. What do you charge?
  3. Do you have a written fee agreement? Have the music lawyer provide you a copy so you can review it.
  4. You should ask the music lawyer explain to you in detail the fee agreement so that you are able to understand it.
  5. Ask for references of artists at your level and check them out and learn from them.