How do I know if a song is copyrighted?

How do I know if a song is copyrighted?

As the prior Quora answers have mentioned, specifically in the USA, if the song in question was published before 1923, it is in the public domain and the copyright has expired. Anything afterwards, and even those that might look as if it is too old to be under copyright, will take some research (and possibly consultation with a copyright lawyer, for safe measure). These songs will fall under the following categories of copyright conditions:

Renewed and Still Under Copyright: If published or registered for a copyright between 1923 and 1977 and renewed through U.S. Copyright Office, the work is still under copyright

Copyright Not Registered and Published Before 1978: If the present date still falls in the longer timeline of the publisher’s death + 70 years or December 31st, 2002, the work is still under copyright

Copyright Registered and Published Before 1978: If present date still falls in the longer timeline of the publisher’s death + 70 years or December 31st, 2047, the work is still under copyright

All Work After 1978: If present date still falls in the timeline of the publisher’s death + 70 years, the work is still under copyright

That leads us to the next question — how are you looking to use the work that is copyrighted? There are several parties that must be contacted, based on how you’re looking to use the song. A copyright for a song is like a puzzle comprised of several licenses. To use a song (to monetize), the rights to how you are using it must be obtained. Here are the different licenses that make up a song’s copyright:

Mechanical License: These are royalties due for the publisher, anytime someone wants to use the song as a cover or use a sample of the song for audio recording purposes

Sync License:These are royalties due to the publisher for the composition, anytime someone wants to use the song for film, TV, video (cover songs included) or games

Public Performance License: These are royalties due to the publisher to perform the music publicly, such as live performance or radio

While many vehicles understand that there is a persistent issue to find streamlined information on a song’s copyright, some companies are working to ease this pain point. YouTube has become a major source of new and up-and-coming artists to cover songs that are still under copyright. Back in 2017, YouTube had signed on with ASCAP (which is a non-for-profit organization that collects royalties from performance rights for composers, publishers and authors) to work towards fairly compensating the members of ASCAP through such partnerships. In May 2018, YouTube uploaded the license, composer, publisher and songwriter informationto millions of videos.

___________________________________________________________________

If you would like to keep an eye on our project, follow us on Facebook or Twitter. We will keep you posted!

Write a comment