Copy Infringement: What Artists Need to Know

Artists have a unique relationship with copyright laws. Is someone singing their song on the sidewalk or a beach in Florida an infringement? What about a band with a similarly named band? Artists need a working knowledge of copyrights in order to protect themselves. The best thing to do if you feel you have been infringed upon is to hire a reputable attorney to look into the problem for you. Below, you can find some facts you need to know as an artist.

Automatic Copyright

As soon as an artist documents their work, weather through recording or writing, the work becomes copy righted. Copyright is a form of intellectual property. The copyright lasts for 70 years after the creator’s death.

What that means

Copyright ownership gives artist the ability to control who reproduces or uses their work. Ownership can be transferred to others. Rights can be sold temporarily for payment, typically called royalties.

What to do

Artist have a few options if they feel like their rights were infringed on. The artist can take the other person/company to court. They could also find a mediator. It can be experience to pursue legal actions, so artist should do their research before deciding what to do.


Artists can choose to apply for a creative commons license. This license allows the owners to choose what others can do with their property. This option is becoming increasingly popular, because it allows their work to be distributed as long as the artist is given credit.

The best way that artists can protect themselves is to be knowledgeable. Understanding copyright laws and what counts as an infringement is important to anyone looking to protect their work. Creative commons are also a viable option for some artists.