As we already stated, once you have created a song and written it down you own the copyright, but is that enough? Well, yes, in theory it is enough, but most people want a little more peace of mind that that. Here’s how you can protect your copyright and what you can do if it’s infringed.
The copyright notice is that little c in a circle you see on books, albums, photographs, art work etc. This will have the name of the person who owns the copyright and the year in which the work was created. As with everything the law on this varies from country to country, but the copyright sign is no longer necessary by law in most areas. We do still put it on our works though, and here’s why. That little copyright sign makes it obvious to the world who owns the copyright so no one can claim they didn’t know. It’s worth having it there in case your work is sold in countries where there is still a law that says you have to have it. And lastly, we like it. It looks all professional and it’s there in black and white for us to see. We did this. This is ours.
There is no need to register your copyright. At all. Once you’ve created the work it is yours, so you don’t need to go to any extra steps. Or do you? Well, no, you don’t, but you might want to. If someone does infringe your copyright and tries to use or steal your song you are the one who has to prove you own the copyright. Is that easier to do if you’ve registered the work as yours? Yes. It’s not necessary, but it could make your life easier. If you register your work officially you have the full legal backing of the law.
If someone uses your song without permission or rips off your song blatantly, there are various ways you can get back what you are owed. If this person has made a profit from using your song you can claim those profits as yours. If it’s hard to prove how much the infringer has made from using your song you can go for damages instead. This will be a one off payment, and you can also take out an injunction against the infringer prohibiting them from continuing to use your work. You can get your legal fees paid. And lastly, if you can prove the infringer ripped off your song intentionally and stole it, they could be in for criminal proceedings and even some gaol time.
Remember, all of this is unlikely, so don’t panic. Not many artists are unlucky enough to suffer infringement of their copyright, but it does happen. If you feel like you want to cover your bases look into registering your copyright and always include that cute little copyright notice on your work.
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