Copyright Infringement of Your Music
Has Someone Violated Your Copyright in Connection with Your Music or Lyrics? Call Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC to Discuss Your Rights
Has someone violated your copyright to your music? Is their music essentially the same? Have they taken your lyrics and used them in their own work? If so, you may have a copyright violation for their infringement of your rights to your own music.
The copyright lawyers at Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC may be able to help.
What Constitutes a Copyright Violation with Music?
Claims of copyright violation with respect to music can be challenging. With photographs, we can see that it is the same image or one that is been slightly edited. With the written word, we can see sentences, paragraphs and even full text that has been copied. With illustrations, we can put them side-by-side and visually see where the copyright violation occurs.
With music, however, it is different. If someone blatantly copies your music note for note or your lyrics word for word, the claim is clear. But what if it is only similar? What if it has a similar beat and tempo? What if the words have been changed and to what degree?
Whether you have a claim for copyright violation with respect to your music is a question that may require expert testimony from industry professionals to identify the similarities and differences between pieces, to help lead to a determination of whether a copyright violation occurred.
Copyright Violations to Your Music Could Result in Substantial Financial Harm
As a composer or writer, you put a tremendous amount of work into your craft. You spent countless hours developing the perfect melody, the right integration of sounds, the perfect lyrics and more. In the end, you’ve produced your work, whether a short jingle or a chart smashing hit.
When someone takes that and uses it (for financial gain or otherwise), you are harmed. Under the law, if it is proven that your copyright was violated, then you may be entitled to substantial damages. It doesn’t matter whether the violation happens via social media, a website, etc., it is still a violation of your rights. Sharing on music streaming sites is not a defense to a copyright violation.
Our Copyright Lawyers Fight for Music Creators
Our law firm was created by Richard Liebowitz, a published photographer and attorney. Recognizing the challenges faced by professional photographers whose work is often taken and republished without permission, he created this firm to protect their rights as well as the rights of other creative individuals.
Our clients are the creative people like you. We’re here to fight for the rights of creative people throughout the United States and worldwide.
Copyright Applies to the Expression of Ideas, Not the Ideas Themselves
One important point to understand is that copyright protects the expression of ideas. However, it does not give you an exclusive right to that idea. You cannot copyright the concept of a love song. You cannot copyright the concept of the song that talks about loss.
What you can copyright are the lyrics – the specific sequence of words themselves – as an expression of those ideas. You can copyright the sequence and timing of notes that create the melody. But you cannot copyright the concept of a slow melody that creates a particular mood.
In evaluating whether a copyright has been violated, you would need expert testimony to assess the music and lyrics. A determination needs to be made how similar they are to the other work, and ultimately a judge needs to determine whether they are so similar that they, in fact, violate your rights
If Your Rights Are Violated, You May Be Entitled to Recover Damages
If we do believe the law would uphold your claim and we pursue a case on your behalf, the goal is to recover a financial award to compensate you for your damages.
“Actual damages” equate to an actual financial harm that you have suffered. How much money did you lose or did they gain by violating your copyright to your music?
In contrast, statutory damages are based on federal law. There are federal laws that provide specific financial remedies when a copyright is violated. The award under statutory damages is for the violation itself, not the harm that the violation caused.
Publishing Your Work is Not a Defense to Copyright Infringement
Recently, companies have asserted a defense claiming that, by publishing your work online, knowing it can be shared, you waive your copyright. This is simply not true and holds no merit.
As the creator of the work, the copyright is yours and you can use your materials as you choose.
If you film yourself playing your song and post it on YouTube, you do not waive your copyright to the song. If you live stream, you do not waive your copyright. Another artist cannot simply take your work because you posted it online.
Defenses such as these have not been successful, and we continue to fight them when these defenses are raised.
Speak With Our Copyright Lawyers Now to Discuss Your Case
Our copyright attorneys help people nationwide and across the globe. If your rights have been violated, please contact us to discuss your case.
Depending on the facts, you may have a claim for copyright violation and for damages under the law. Every case is different, and we really would need to hear the facts surrounding your specific case to advise you properly. Call us today for a free consultation.