Copyright is the bedrock of every artist’s career – it secures rights and offers protections that allow us to build careers on solid ground without undue worry of our works being stolen or exploited without our knowledge or consent. The Founding Fathers of the United Stated thought it so important that they wrote it into Article I of the Constitution. Every artist should have a working knowledge of current copyright law – they should know the basic rights and protections that they’re afforded, and how they can remedy any infringement on their rights.

It’s with this in mind that I invited my friend Marc Ostrow, an entertainment/IP lawyer and songwriter, to be on the show.

In our conversation, we talked about:

  • basic tenets of copyright
  • the limits of what is copyrightable
  • the Poor Man’s Copyright
  • the benefits of and incentives to registering your copyrights
  • fighting infringements
  • folio registrations*
  • working with living poets vs. dead poets’ estates
  • Performing Rights Organizations
    • selecting
    • collecting performance royalties
    • what PROs don’t do
  • estate planning for artists
  • international copyright issues
  • why you should get permission <strong>before</strong> setting a text
  • First Sale Doctrine
  • licensing vs. selling
  • copying licenses
  • Fair Use
    • Fair Use is not a right; it is a defense against an infringement accusation*
    • the four factors of fair use
    • transformative use vs. derivative works
    • the false “rules of thumb” of fair use
  • our cats

(* – these are important points!)

Marc is slated to come back in July to go into more depth with Fair Use and the seemingly endless misconceptions that people seem to have about it.

Marc Ostrow
Marc’s blog
U.S. Copyright Office
The Copyright Handbook
Donald S. Passman: All You Need to Know About the Music Business
Steve Gordon: The Future of the Music Business