Copyright Vs Publishing

Copyright vs. Publishing | Know Your Rights

Music copyright is the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, or create derivative works from a musical composition. Music publishing is the production and sale of music in printed or digital form.

A music copyright protects a song’s melody and lyrics. A publishing company owns the copyright to the song’s melody and lyrics but does not own any of the music that was used in creating it.

Music publishing vs copyright

A music publisher owns all rights to a song’s melody and lyrics. They do not own any of the underlying music that was used in creating it.

The only way to monetize your music without going out on tour is to make sure you understand your copyright and publishing rights. 

When is a copyright created? The copyright of a song is created whenever the work has been completed in the creator’s mind. 

After the work has been completed, you then have the option to register the copyright with the library of congress.

Why should you register your copyright? This is how you formally claim the rights that are due to you by creating original work. 

Also, for the most part, you cannot seek remuneration or past royalties on infringement of your copyright without it being registered.

This topic tends to confuse many of our students and it’s integral to becoming a professional artist or producer. In the following video, we sit down with music business instructor Steffen Franz to break it down in simple terms..

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A few key points to take from the video:

  • There are five basic rights and protections that come with your copyright
  • There are two types of copyright, performance art (PA), or sound recording (SR).
  • PA applies to the ownership in the song but not the actual recording. It is the title to the car, it’s the legal document that gives the writer ownership.
  • PR is the recorded copyright, so the album version. This protects the label so they’re sure to earn back their investment if they paid to produce the recording.
  • Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) like ASCAP or BMI collect your royalties for you and distribute them to you.

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