Can I copyright my music?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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As the name implies, a copyright is a song writer’s exclusive right to copy his or her creative music work, with certain exceptions and for a certain period of time. A copyright basically gives the song writer a limited monopoly over their musical works. Thus, it protects the original author of a musical composition from having his work copied for a limited duration.

If the song writer is also a recording artist, there are two distinct copyrights; one in the composition (song), and one in the sound recording (record). Thus, the song writer and recording artist of a musical work is the exclusive 100% copyright owner of both the underlying composition (the song) and of the sound recording (the record).

Visit our section on Copyrights for a further discussion.

(Reprinted with permission of Ruben Salazar, Esq.)

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