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Copyright music expiration
For Many Copyright Music Expiration is a Luxury for Worry
If you copyright music, expiration isn't something you have to worry about, at least not in your lifetime. The music that you've written is copyrighted the moment you've put it onto paper or recorded it being played. The reason you don't have to worry about expiration is because the music is protected until 70 years after the death of the author. In the case of your music, that author would be you.
This rule about copyright music expiration was first put into place so that the families and heirs of an author could still earn royalties even after his or her death. Ultimately this means that if you've taken the steps to copyright your music and have registered the copyright then your music will be protected throughout your lifetime until 70 years after you or the last surviving author (assuming a collaboration) are no longer living.
Copyright music expiration is not something you should make a primary concern unless you are having issues of someone respecting and/or honoring your copyright at the moment. You should take comfort in the fact that as long as you are alive you are the only one who can assign your copyright to another person and as long as you haven't given up your ownership of the music it still belongs to you.
This is different however if your copyrighted music was work made for hire. If that is the case then you cannot have ownership of the music, as it never legally belonged to you no matter what form it was in when it changed hands. Works made for hire have different copyright music expiration than those that were owned by the creator. With works made for hire, the copyrights are in effect for 95 years from the original publication date or for 120 years from the creation of the work whichever of the two is shorter.
For most beginning musician?s copyright music expiration date isn't as important as getting that first gig or earning that first dollar as a result of the music he or she writes and/or plays. It's about art for many and about survival for others. The latter are quite often the ones that are taken advantage of. These are the authors who don't protect themselves as they should and end up failing to register their music because the idea of buying food seemed more pertinent to survival at the moment. This is often the case, particularly among street musicians and it's something that was becoming a growing problem immediately after hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans taking with it many of the homes of starving musicians along with many pieces of music that will never become copyright music, expiration or not, those works are gone forever except in the mind of their creators. who could barely scrape together the money to pay $100 a month for a hovel they shared with 6 or 7 other people in order to keep expenses down and avoid living on the streets.
The building not only of homes for those musicians displaced as a result of Katrina's devastation is wonderful but even more than that is the fact that there are organizations that are dedicated to creating a community for these musicians so that maybe many of the struggling artists won't be taken advantage of or have to face the decision to register their music in order to protect and copyright music expiration for their future heirs or to risk loosing their claim over the music they wrote in order to eat or pay the rent or buy groceries.
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