(Hypebot) — Even though your music is intellectual property, it remains your property and should only be used with permission. Here are 6 steps to take if someone steals your music.
by Cody of Band Lab
As an artist, it’s always a terrible feeling to find out that your music has been used without your permission. Not only are you missing out on potential income, but you also feel like your years of hard work taking up guitar, singing, piano lessonsetc., and applying that knowledge to an original piece of music is pointless.
However, if this has happened to you, all hope is not lost! If your music is stolen online, there are several ways you can try to recover it.
Take a step back and gather evidence
You have just learned that your song has been stolen. You feel angry and a bit helpless – that’s normal and okay. But before taking drastic measures, it is important to take a step back and gather evidence. The first thing to do is try to determine which parts of your song have been stolen. If the infringing material is substantially similar to yours, that may be sufficient evidence of infringement.
Next, you should try to determine when the infringing material was created. If it was created after your own song, it’s much more likely that there was an infringement. Finally, you should try to assess the value of your song. It can be tricky, but if you can prove that your song has significant monetary value, you may be able to recover damages from the infringer.
By taking the time to gather evidence, you can put yourself in a strong position to protect your rights and present your case to a qualified professional.
Protect your music as soon as possible
If you suspect that someone has stolen your music, you should perform copyright registration as soon as possible. This will provide you with legal protection in case the infringer has not yet completed their own copyright registration. If you can complete this step before them, you will have a much better chance of winning any type of copyright infringement case as well as recovering lost compensation.
Of course, saving your music won’t guarantee you’ll never have to deal with a theft, but it will give you a much better chance of protecting your work and recouping any losses.
You can reference this copyright.gov PDF which clearly outlines the requirements for copyright registration in the United States.
Contact an Entertainment Lawyer
If you want to properly recover any stolen musical property, it is in your best interest to contact an entertainment attorney. They can help you determine if you have a case and, if so, what your next steps should be.
In some cases, it may be possible to recover damages or obtain an injunction against the infringer. Either way, it’s important to protect your work and make sure you get paid for your creativity.
Reach out to other artists for advice
If you’re in the music scene, you probably know plenty of other artists, and some of them might even have been through this. Therefore, contact them to see if they can offer you advice and support. They may even be able to put you in touch with lawyers or other professionals who can help you resolve the issue.
Speak out on major platforms to spread the word
If you find that your music has been used without your permission, it’s important to speak up. Let the community know what happened and provide as much evidence as possible to swing the pendulum in your favor.
Even reaching out to major news outlets and offering to share your story is a good idea to spread the word about what happened. This will help deter future thefts and let the counterfeiter know that you are serious about protecting your work.
By taking a stand, you can help protect your rights and ensure that your music is only used with your permission.
Issue a DMCA Takedown Notice
If your music has been stolen and uploaded online to a platform or website, you can issue a DMCA takedown notice. The notice should be sent to the hosting provider or service provider and should include specific information about the infringing material.
Once the notice is received, the service provider will review your case and remove the material in question if it has been found to infringe copyright. Be aware that filing a false takedown notice can result in serious legal consequences, so be sure to believe in good faith that the material in question infringes your copyright.
If you are unsure whether or not you have a case, you can always consult a lawyer.
Cody is the founder of musician tuts, a free tutorial center for musicians. He has over 15 years of experience playing a variety of instruments and in audio engineering. He spends his days blogging, listening to Spotify and playing music.