If you sang it, said it, even recorded it yourself, do you own it?
One of the most significant issues facing the people involved in creating original Sound Recordings is the risk of plagiarism or counterfeiting and the loss of royalties.
We are often asked, “How can I prove ownership of my music, songs, or audio recording?
Read on for the cheapest and easiest way to copyright your audio/sound recordings.
Before discussing ownership of Sound Recordings, it is essential to understand the distinction between obtaining copyright and proving your claim of ownership.
You can learn more about Copyright, copyright protection, and proof of ownership in our How to copyright and prove ownership of your intellectual property article.
Here's a summary of that article.
Copyright law is internationally recognised, and those rights are automatically afforded to the creator or creators of the work.
To protect and copyright your work, all that is required to preserve your work, music, or art is the following.
Yes, you can copyright any of your work. For example, if your business produces written and audio work, you automatically own the copyright of said work.
Copyright pretty much protects every medium in which a work of art exists; this also includes content, code, and pictures on the internet.
If you can prove your own claim to your original work, anyone who infringes it can be prosecuted.
An infringement of copyright is when another person, business, or company uses all or part of the protected work without seeking prior consent from the owner.
This is why it's essential that any intellectual property is registered and or the original work protected.
In most countries, the work you wish to copyright does not need to be registered with a government department unless you live in the United States. However, if you live in the U.S, then legally, your copyrights need to be registered with the U.S copyright office Copyright.gov.
So what about the other countries?
In countries that do not require copyright registration, you must Place a “Copyright Notice” on all public copies of your work. However, the most critical aspect of the whole copyright process is creating immutable, indisputable proof that you did the job.
If you haven't protected your work and another person or business infringes your copyright, you have no leg to stand on and zero recourse.
If you have protected your work and your work is used without your permission, you can take legal action against the infringing party because you can prove absolute ownership.
You need a lot more evidence to prove ownership than just your word?
When it comes to audio/sound recordings, ownership may lie with the producers or the person who paid for it to be produced. But, think big record labels and well-known artists; royalties don't always go to the artist!
This is why indisputable proof is key to protection!
There are many ways listed on the internet of how to prove ownership of a sound recording. Unfortunately, most are expensive and many ineffective; here are a few examples;
LifeHash uses the blockchain to store the original digital footprint of an audio file. This digital footprint is called a HASH. A hash can then be compared to the original or disputed audio file to prove ownership. Blockchains store the information anchored into them indefinitely, making the information stored on them immutable (unchangeable) while providing the owner a single source of truth for the future. LifeHash does not hold a copy of the original audio file. Ownership of the original file stays with the user.
The lifeHash solution is the cheapest and most definitive copyright solution on the market. Our mobile application has a freemium subscription for everyday users. For artists, freelancers, business and enterprise lifehash has a suite of tools and flexible monthly pricing options for protecting the copyright of any digital file or audio recording.
There is no need to register your sound recording to obtain a copyright, in fact in many countries it is not possible to register your work with a centralised government agency.
In order to prove copyright ownership of a song you will need to provide indisputable proof that you were the original creator. This can be done by various online methods however they can be expensive and ineffective.
The original creator owns the copyright, however it can also be shared by others including the employer of that creator.
There are several online libraries that list the creators, publishers and performers of compositions.
This varies on where in the world the recording was created but the copyright generally lasts for either 50 or 70 years after the death of the creator.
The fee to register a copyright of a sound recording varies depending on the country, in the US however it costs $35 for a single piece work.