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Copy Protection? Music to my Ears

There’s an interesting article over at AmericanSongwriter.com, written by Andy Lykens of indie music publisher Imagem Music. The piece answers a few commonly asked questions about copyrighting music, lyrics, and other artistic works.

Lykens does a good job addressing some common misconceptions and less obvious issues that must certainly gnaw at the artistic craw. Among the questions he answers are:

What does it mean when a work is “fixed in tangible form?” How long does a copyright last? And, what does copyright ownership entail.

There’s a lot of vital information packed into the answers of those three questions, and much of the information given pertains to the artist who takes no additional action to protect the product of their efforts.

Which is why Lykens concludes his piece with some sound advice.

“So if you’ve got a body of work and have been worrying about its protection, rest assured that legally and technically you’re covered.

“However, put yourself in the most powerful position and protect your music by registering with the library of congress ASAP!”

Let me take that warning further and suggest that anyone – artist, business consultant, contractor, employee, entrepreneur, inventor – who has committed intellectual property to paper, should take additional steps to protect their valuable information by using available technical tools to copy protect the documents containing that information. And then take that concern a step further by making sure to share that information only with those who need access to the information.

Copyright protections are useful when working with people and organizations that play by the rules, but these days there are far too many people who are far too willing to break rules when it comes to valuable data and intellectual property. These may be competitors, pirates, identity thieves, or other shady characters motivated by greed, malice, or simple laziness.

Using the necessary legal protections, and then layering on technical security and an abundance of caution, can go a long way toward safeguarding your work.

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