If you have created an audio production, it’s natural for you to want to protect it from illegal copying and distribution, so what must you do to ensure that it’s properly protected?

It might surprise you to know that once your audio production is complete, it’s already protected!

Most people mistakenly believe that their work will not be protected unless they register it with a special government organization that manages copyrights. This is not the case. While there are plenty of government organizations and privately owned copyright registration companies that can offer you “peace of mind for a fee”, you should know that copyright protection is automatic under international law.

When you create something, you own it, and no one can change that regardless of whether your work is registered or not.

However, it is advisable that you take the following steps to protect your work:

1. Keep evidence of the development of your audio production.
Should someone infringe upon your copyright it helps to have some evidence that your audio production is in fact yours. Keep a hold of any materials that you created during the development of your audio production. For example, if your production includes a voiceover then the script you wrote would serve as evidence. Burn a copy of your production and keep it in storage. Even something as simple as the receipt for the royalty free background music you used will also serve as additional evidence.

2. Deter infringement.
Make it clear that your work is protected under copyright law by adding appropriate notifications to your CD cover, CD disk, MP3 meta tags and to any web pages from which your audio can be purchased. At the very least this notification should include the copyright symbol ©, followed by the year the work was completed and your name. For example: © 2017 Your Name. All Rights Reserved.

A word or two on the problem of illegal sharing of audio productions

In this digital era, illegal file sharing is quite common. If you create an audio production and release it to the public then the chances are that someone, somewhere, is going to copy it and share it with others.

Some people find this disheartening and I can understand that. After all, you may have invested a large amount of time and energy creating your wonderful recording, not to mention the money you may have spent on recording equipment, graphic design and royalty free relaxation music.

Don’t let this thought immobilize you! Don’t let it stop you from creating what you want to create, and don’t waste too much time trawling the internet looking for offenders.

One could argue that obscurity is a much bigger problem for most artists than copyright infringement is. I’m not suggesting for one minute that you ignore copyright infringements – you should definitely address any instance of infringement, but take heart in the knowledge that some sharing of your work might actually help to make you more well known.

At the end of the day, the vast majority of people are honest, and it’s simply unproductive to worry too much about copyright infringement matters. Take appropriate steps to protect your work and then make your peace with the fact that a small percentage of the population will share your work with others. It’s an inevitability.

Links to government operated copyright resources

US Copyright Office
UK Intellectual Property Office
Australian Copyright Council