The question is copyrighting beats and should you copyright beats?
You just created your catchy beats and now you’re questioning whether to copyright them or not. Or when you give your beats away for free, how far are you protected in terms of copyrights? Do you copyright your music beforehand then sell them or it’s agreed on when contracts are made?
Copyrighting is a heavy subject yet it cannot be avoided. Moreover, the purpose of this article is purely informative and doesn’t represent any legal or advisory aspects.
What is Copyrighting?
First of all, it’s the right of making copies of your own work. To clarify, this includes any derivative works which mean any recent work that is mostly based on previous work. Moreover, it includes any reproductions which mean people can’t make copies of your work using CDs for example. Plus, distributing copies or phonorecord are under those right as well in terms of selling, transferring ownership, renting, lending or leasing. Finally, any public performing for your work is also under the terms of copyrighting including stage or live performing, using your music in movies or any visual work, and playing your work on the radio or at events.
Should You Copyright Your Beats?
Basically, your beats are copyrighted as soon as you create them. However, the question might be: do I register my beats with a copyright office? The suggested answer is yes.
Why? In the case of someone using your beats without your permission, your registered copyright will grant you great support in terms of suing them and doing the court procedures. On the other hand, if your work is not copyrighted, then your chances in courts against them are going to be more difficult to deal with.
When to Copyright the Beats?
Now, should you have your beats copied before or after releasing them? What makes sense is to do it before releasing your music to the world for it’s like insurance when someone steals your work, claims it as theirs, profiting with millions of dollars out of it, then you will have the right to take legal actions.
Will copyrighting my beats stop people from stealing my beats?
Well, the answer is no. Basically, if someone is dishonest and determined to steal, nothing will stop them. Therefore, it’s best to be cautious and careful and copyright your work to have the legal right to claim your work.
Where do I go to copyright my beats?
Visit copyright.gov if you’re a US citizen. If not, search for the right place via the internet.
How much money does it cost?
Basically, you have the ability to upload between 1-135 MP3’s encoded at 128 kbps for the price of 35 dollars to $200.000, price is what you give it, thus, it is recommended to copyright your beats in bulks because it will cost the same if you copyrighted 1 or 135 all at once, so take the advantage of doing it all at once to minimize the costs of the copyright registrations.
What will happen if I don’t register a song? Will I still be able to claim it?
Shockingly, yes. In case you sent your beats to an artist before copyrighting them and they used it and uploaded it to YouTube, for example, then you have the right to file DMCA (Digital Music Copyright Act) against them and claim what is yours. They take action and remove it, but if they didn’t then you send a cease and desist letter.
However, in case of someone stealing your beats, and makes lots of money out of it and you wish to sue them for the profits they made then it’s going to be a little bit annoying. The beats are yours but still, you have to do some complicated registrations. Therefore, it’s well-recommended to copyright your music as soon as you create them.