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An original song combines musical elements in a new way that hasn’t been heard before. Elements of new songs can sometimes sound like older songs because of influences of these existing musical ideas. However, new songs often have enough differences to be deemed original.

Many artists are often influenced by multiple sources of music. By combining these contrasting influences, in many instances helps their music be original. If only a single influence is used then most often they end up imitating an existing artist or song.

There is a difference between original and unique. Original typically applies to a piece or music that isn’t the same or a copy where unique can be used to describe something that is different to everything else. Innovative can be thought of as creating an entire different style that influences others.

Man, sometimes it takes you a long time to sound like yourself.” “Don’t play what’s there; play what’s not there.” “Do not fear mistakes – there are none. ” ~ Miles Davis

What is copyright?

Copyright is a way for artists to prove they are the creators of an original piece of music. Copyright gives the artist control on how other people can use their work for personal or commercial use. Copyright exists immediately and is free.

How to copyright your music

Sending yourself a copy of the lyrics, chord progression and/or recording in an email or registering it with a lawyer of company is not copyright but a way to demonstrate that you created this on a certain date. This can be useful as proof if someone claims to be the creator of your work.

A single song can have multiple copyright owners. The lyricist, music creator and producer of the recording can all own parts of the copyright.

Royalties

APRA Stands for the Australasian Performing Rights Association. An organization who represents and looks after the copyright of over 100,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. They act as a link between you as the copyright owner, and those who want to use your music. Like many artists, you can become a member of the APRA and register your music with them.

How long is your music protected

The amount of time your music is protected differs slightly for music and lyrics, and sound recordings.

Generally, the copyright for musical works and lyrics lasts for the length of your life as the creator, plus 70 years. With various exceptions including whether or not the work was published during your lifetime.

With sound recordings, the copyright generally lasts for 70 years after you first publish it. Then, once your copyright has expired, it can’t be re-copyrighted.

Illegal use of your music

The Copyright Act delivers harsh penalties for breaching the rights of artists, composers, lyricists, and music publishers. Including fines up to $60,000 for individuals, and up to $300,000 for corporations. While more serious cases can land you in prison.

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