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Music Copyright Related Questions

What is music copyright?

Music copyright or just copyright gives the creator of an original artistic work the exclusive right to print, copy, sell, distribute, license, transfer to another medium, translate, record, perform or otherwise use or not use and give away to another by will. The original work once created and in a tangible form such as taping automatically has copyright protection.

When a creator of an original work distributes and/or publishes the work, they must affix a notice stating the word copyright, copy or ©, with the name of the creator and the date of the year of the first publication. Placement of the notice can appear in different areas.

An individual’s music’s was uploaded to a website without their consent. How do they go about having their music removed from the website and is this music copyright infringement?

Without the individual’s consent, assuming that this was an original work, it is copyright infringement. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act a cease and desist takedown notice will need to be sent to the owner of the website. If the owner of the site refuses to remove the music then the individual will have the right to sue them for copyright infringement. They can also sue the person who uploaded the music. Even if the owner of the site removes the music, the individual could still sue the person who initially uploaded the music without consent.

Is it illegal to “burn” copyrighted music that I purchased and give that to my sibling?

Making copies of music CDs for personal use is not illegal. Giving a copy to your sibling should not be an issue. If is for personal or family use the individual making the copy should be fine. However if an individual plans on making many copies, then they could get into some trouble. There is no straight line when dealing with copyright. There is a lot of grey area. If the individual was charging for the copied music then this would be an infringement as that individual is now considered to be distributing the music while making money off of that copyrighted music.

Does a music copyright expire?

Music copyrights do expire. Once a copyright expires it falls into the public domain. Works created in 1978 to date are extended copyright protection. Specified terms are defined in 17 U.S.C. § 302. With the enactment of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, copyright protection is granted for the length of the author’s life plus seventy years. Work for hire works have a different term. The copyright on works for hire will continue based on creation or publication. The shorter term of either one hundred twenty years after creation or ninety-five years after publication will be in effect.

How does an individual obtain copyright for their music?

Copyright is automatic. When an author of a completed original work has a tangible product it automatically has copyright protection. It will provide some protection in the event of infringement. Registering the completed original work with the federal copyright office provides additional protection. Registration of a work is fairly easy. It can either be done online or offline. Registering online can be done by going to and the fee is thirty-five dollars. The fee to register offline is fifty dollars. Using either method to register will require a copy of the work to be registered.

If an individual essentially writes lyrics to an original song on a restaurant napkin, technically the individual immediately has copyright protection. But if that individual wants more expressed rights then they should register their lyrics/music with the federal copyright office.

Having the right information and understanding of music copyrights can help when dealing with questions on music copyrights. Experts can help answer questions on music copyright expirations or how to register for a music copyright. Get the answers fast and affordably by asking an Expert online.
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