Music Business and Management
Course 16: Copyright

Along with contracts and agreements, copyrights help artists protect their intellectual property. With copyright, an artist is entitled to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, and other acts with their material as they fit. This may or may not include how others use the artist’s work, although there are some exceptions.

In this course, you’ll learn about what copyright does, what the exceptions are for copyright, how an artist is able to apply for a copyright, and how long a copyright lasts. There are a variety of copyrights available to artists, as well as compulsory licenses that are required when an artist records and releases music.

You’ll also cover trademarks, which essentially protect the use of a brand (such as a logo or band name). You’ll also learn how copyrights are distributed among songwriters, both as a writer of music and the person who writes the lyrics (if different entities). The course will also look at the definition of infringement and what steps can be taken if the song is being used improperly.

For your course assignment, you will complete a mock copyright of an album release. Recording Connection will provide a form or you can download one directly from the U.S. Copyright Office. This is in addition to the bog, course review, quiz, and required reading. Keep in mind you don’t need to be an attorney to help your artist with these filings, but you should make them aware of their importance.