What is Music Copyright Law

With the popularity of the Internet, many people are violating music copyright law and do not even know it. Music copyright law can be very tricky. There are multiple music copyrights that you must keep in mind – lyrics, composition and the recording of the music by an artist. Using someone’s music may involve you acquiring many different licenses such as mechanical, synchronization, performance and publishing licenses.

Music copyright law has separate copyrights for the vocal or instrumental recordings of a composition or performance and the copyright of the written lyrics and music. Standard music copyrighting practices usually entail that the writer of the song retains the rights to the right to the music composition which the studio that did the recording of the music holds the rights of the recording. Music copyright law can get very complicated. It can involve negotiations with the writers, producers, agents, heirs and more.

Many artists and studios are upset with the decline in music sales. They are attributing this decline to people who are violating copyright laws by downloading music on the Internet. Music files are under the same copyright law as music recordings and the owners of these copyrights are entitled to royalties or compensation for the music that people are illegally downloading on the Internet.

The simple fact is you are stealing if you make copies of copyrighted music recordings without authorization. If people were sued for the music they have downloaded illegally, it could result in thousands of dollars. Music copyright law states that it is illegal to duplicate and distribute creative work. If you send someone an email with a song that you have illegally downloaded on the Internet, you could be in for some serious trouble. To put it bluntly and plainly, if you download (or upload) music that is copyrighted without permission, you are breaking the law.

Many people violate music copyright law and do not even understand how their actions are criminal. If you purchase a music CD you can make a copy of it for yourself on your MP3. However, if you then use that recording and put it on your website or blog and make it available for everyone to download, you are performing an illegal act. Even if you join a site and pay a fee to download music, you are in violation of music copyright law.

This may sound like something that would never come back to haunt you. After all, if you were caught, it would be a first time offense, right? Well, you should know that there have been first time offenders who have been fined up to $250,000 and up to five years in jail for violating music copyright law. It is so much easier to go out and pay 20 bucks for a CD.

Whether you are uploading music or downloading music, educate yourself on music copyright law. No one wants to ruin their financial future and face jail time. Enjoy music, just do it the right way!

Brian Scott is a freelance journalist who covers copyright law for www.ResearchCopyright.com

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