Saturday, October 26, 2013

Music Business/Law Tips - "Poor Man’s Copyright”

Emailing or snail-mailing yourself a copy of your music (or other creative work) is what many people refer to as a so-called "poor-man's" copyright. However, the "poor man's copyright" has never been a part of the US copyright law, nor is it recognized by law. Hence, it's not a substitute for formal copyright registration. Technically, a copyright is created under the law when an original creative work like a song is embodied in a fixed format, such as CD or a lyric sheet. However, by taking the extra step of timely registering the song/copyright with the US Copyright Office, the creator gains extra important rights/benefits, the biggest one being the ability to bring a copyright infringement lawsuit for statutory damages which can be up to $150,000 per infringement, plus attorneys fees. None of these benefits apply to a “poor man’s copyright”, so its best to spend a few extra dollars to protect your valuable rights. Ben McLane Esq

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