Music Law Law and Legal Definition

Music law involves such issues as music publishing, running a band's business affairs, performance contracts, and copyrights issues, among others. A copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including musical works both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly. Music that is "fixed in a tangible medium of expression", such as written or taperecorded lyrics, it is copyrighted and protected, although formal copyrights are granted by the Library of Congress' Copyright Office.

ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Performers) and BMI (Broadcast Musicians Incorporated) are performing rights organizations. If you belong to one of these organizations, you grant them the right to negotiate licenses for your songs with all the places music is performed publicly.