How copyright law protects musicians

The United States copyright law provides legal protection for artists of creative works. The law gives music creators six exclusive rights, making it illegal for others to use their music without permission. The six protections cover each of the various ways music is used. If you write a song, only you can record, photocopy, perform in public, rearrange, or play a recording of your song on the radio; television; or web.

How copyright helps musicians make money

Musicians make money by giving permission to use their music. If you create music, you can share your exclusive rights with others for a fee. This is called music licensing. On the flip side, if you use music that belongs to someone else, depending how you use it, you need to get permission via different types of licenses. Without the protection of the Copyright Law, anyone could use music without paying for it, and the creator would never get paid. With the law, there are several ways musicians can make money.

Six ways copyright law protects musicians is The official web site of the United States Copyright Office. It is a good resource for information about Copyright. The following excerpts were taken from their web site. Our translation is in green:

Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

Our translation:

Only the copyright holder or someone they give permission to can / can give permission to

  1. to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

    make copies of their sheet music or audio recordings,

  2. to prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work

    create new sheet music arrangements of their songs,

  3. to distributed copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

    sell copies of their music in print or in recordings,

  4. in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

    perform their music in public,

  5. in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and

    play a recording of their music in public, and

  6. in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of digital audio transmission."

    stream recorded music over the web.