Creating music for the web? Protect it and yourself

As a musician, something you like to do is to post your music online. Your goal is always to sell singles and records through iTunes and other platforms, but you're worried that someone will take your songs while you're not very popular and end up making money off your work.

If you want to avoid trouble with your music being stolen or used by those who didn't get permission, you need to consider taking a few legal steps. First, you'll want to get a trademark for your band or stage name. Second, you will want to copyright your music. While you have automatic protections once your music is in a tangible form, you should still consider paying for a copyright. Finally, make sure you understand Google Alerts and digital watermarks and use them to protect your music.

The importance of your trademark

Trademarking does a lot for you. It helps you protect your band or stage name. It also helps you categorize your work under your name, so people recognize that it belongs to you and isn't just one the Internet without any specific artist attached.

A copyright is essential

Your music is technically protected the moment that it's placed in tangible form, but you don't want to rely on that. You should copyright all aspects of your music, from the lyrics to the underlying beats. Of course, you should also copyright the finished song and sound recording. This isn't an expensive process, so it's worth doing if you want to protect work you post online.

Get to know online protections

Finally, learn more about amazing programs like Google Alerts and how to use digital watermarks. These allow you to monitor your work online, essentially allowing you to track you album, song title or brand name and where they appear online.

It's worth your time to track where your music is being played, because there may be times when you want to pursue cease and desist notices or ask for royalties. Tracking your music gives you the opportunity to interact with fans and to comment on other sites where it appears, too.

Playing music is something you do for fun and because you love it, but that doesn't mean others can use your music without your permission. If someone does take your song or create a cover that you did not give them permission to use your song for, you may want to look into your legal options.

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