How does copyright work in music? | Entertainer Jatt

How does copyright work in music?

These days, when Piracy is the biggest crux in the Punjabi music industry, Copyright is what that protects your artwork from being used illegally. Before we proceed further and understand how copyright works in the music industry, let’s get an insight about what copyright is and how does it protect your work from being used without your consent.


Copyright is a legal term that comes into the picture as soon as you produce a work. The work under copyright protection is any creative art falling under the categories:- artistic work, dramatic work, musical work, literary work, sound recordings and broadcast. Copyright is one of the most powerful rights you can own as a creator. It empowers you to control your work from being reproduced or otherwise communicated without your permission, as well as it enables you to get money from your work. Copyright, however, does not protect ideas and styles. It protects the way how ideas are expressed in the work.


In the entertainment industry- be it a cinema industry or the music industry, copyright begins automatically once a new song or any other piece of artwork is created, documented or recorded. For any piece of recorded music, there exist two types of copyright. First, that is owned by the songwriter and/or publisher and covers a song’s music and lyrics. The second one is owned by the recording artist and/or label and includes a particular recorded version of a musical composition. In case, you want to make use of copyright music for public performance, you need to seek permission from both the copyright owner of the “musical work” AND the “sound recording”. This permission is known as a license. Analog audio, however, is exempted from obtaining a license for the sound recordings they play.


Copyright protects creators even if their creation is not registered with the Copyright Office. However, unregistered work can often be hard to prove as your own, which is why it is important to keep physical or digital proof of your work. This would be helpful in the event of a copyright infringement.  Copyright infringement occurs when you do certain things with a creative work which someone else produced without first getting the proper permission. Activities like using someone else’s creative work commercially, using content from one medium to another or modifying and editing a creative work without proper permission come under copyright infringement. The best way to avoid copyright infringement is to use your own skills, talent and imagination to create an original artwork. By the term ‘original’, we do not mean you ought to create something that has never been never been created. You may use established ideas to get motivation and can present that in your own way as Copyright does not cover the ideas.


Copyright does not last forever; however, it does last for a pretty long period. Copyright is applicable from the moment of fixation and continues until 70 years after the death of an artist. Post copyright expiration, the artwork falls into what's called the "public domain." And when the work is in public domain, it is free from all sorts of restrictions and can be replicated or used commercially.