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Who Owns That Song? How to Research Copyright Ownership

Image via lawcommentator.com

In many circumstances, musicians and producers find themselves needing to contact the copyright owners of a particular song or recording for permission to use music for something not covered by the standard licenses available through ASCAP, SESAC, BMI, or the Harry Fox Agency. Activities such as sampling and using music in a video make it necessary to contact and request licenses from the copyright owners of the songs and/or recordings. But although we're often familiar with the artists who performed the songs, information about the copyright owners/administrators can be less readily available. Here are some research resources to help you find out who owns those copyrights.

How Vimeo’s New Copyright Match System Affects Your Music

Photo via Venture Beat

Jamie Davis-Ponce is a professional musician and graduate of Northeastern University's Master of Music Industry Leadership program with a concentration in entrepreneurship. She has been a music lecturer at Ithaca College, and is deeply involved in Boston-area arts and music organizations.


Soon we may be rewriting The Buggles’ hit lyrics to say "Audio fingerprinting killed the video star," as automated systems like Vimeo’s new Copyright Match block more fan content and limit the online buzz for hit songs.

Artists have been uploading their music and videos to social networks such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Vimeo for over a decade. The wild west of uploading is gradually becoming more regulated as internet companies try to limit lawsuits from record companies and fight music piracy. The advent of audio fingerprinting technology, such as Vimeo’s Copyright Match, is making it easier for sites like YouTube and Vimeo to automatically block content that infringes on copyrights. But these automated systems can also limit artists in how they share their music and engage fans in the creative process. Here's the lowdown on how Vimeo's new audio fingerprinting system impacts your band's ability to share and monetize music online.

How to Trademark Your Band Name

Successful bands like the Beatles (and their heirs) make money by licensing their trademark to companies such as Rock Band. (image source)

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word and/or logo that helps people identify your brand (which for our purposes is your band). Sometimes things such as sound and color can be trademarked as well. So in theory, if you always start your shows with a very specific and distinct riff to let listeners know without a doubt that it's your band, you could technically trademark that too!

Copyright and Your Band: 4 Must-Do's Before Playing a Festival

Festival preparation for musicians goes beyond renting the van and finding a place to sleep. For instance, are your songs copyrighted? Did you know that you should be getting paid royalties for your performance? Here are four things you should do to secure your intellectual property before you pack your bags this summer.

Copyright and Your Band: Using Someone Else’s Music in Your YouTube Video (And What to Do if Someone Uses Yours)

After reading previous Copyright and Your Band posts, you’ve learned all about song ownership, recordings, and who gets paid for public performances. But where do sites like YouTube fit in?