July 14, 2024


Association Of Law

Protect Your Songs – Music Does Get Stolen

3 min read
Protect Your Songs – Music Does Get Stolen

Many songwriters wonder if it’s really that big a deal to worry about getting songs stolen.

Why bother with copyright or song registration paperwork? My music is safe as soon as I write it down, right?

Well, yes and no.

True, actual copyright protection attaches as soon as original material is put into physical form. But…

You better be prepared to PROVE when your copyright protection started!

Songs get stolen more often than people might think. Cell phones make great secret audio recorders and if you are considering the Internet for your showcase… well you know how easy stealing things from there is!

And then there’s the more famous cases…

That’s what happened with George Harrison. His song “My Sweet Lord” was stolen from “She’s So Fine” (he admitted as much, though “by accident,” see below). Or Led Zeppelin’s lyrics on “Whole Lotta Love” coming from Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love.” Or “Dazed and Confused” taken from Jake Holmes.

And if it can happen to the biggies, it can happen to anyone…

In fact, we’ve included 2 links toward the end of this article listing songs that were actually stolen — one is a story about recently stolen material and the other is a study commissioned by UCLA about songs stolen between 2007 back to 1887!

And it’s not just evil people out there looking for songs to steal that’s the worry. It’s important to make sure your music is copyright protected for other reasons too. You may or may not have heard about songs getting stolen by accident.

Yes you heard right. Registering your song copyrights is super-important to protect against the chance that someone steals it whether they mean to or not.

If you think it’s impossible for someone to accidentally steal your song, just think how easy it is finding yourself humming a few bars of “something” without even remembering where you heard it (or whether you EVEN heard it or just made it up in your own mind).


And here are the 2 links discussing songs actually stolen:

CLICK HERE for a recent newspaper article on stolen song material…

CLICK HERE to read the UCLA “Copyright Infringement Project” which analyzes some of the better known music copyright cases — from 1887 through 2007 — with the ability to compare the alleged stolen material so you can decide for yourself!

So next time you write a song and say “why bother” when it comes to taking precautions to register your song copyright, just remember George Harrison, or Jimmie Paige, or the person turning on his or her cell phone while you play…

Remember, it takes such little effort registering your songs.

ALWAYS make sure you have proof of your song copyright and when you created them.
ALWAYS register your music with a reputable, third-party copyright registration service, or with the Copyright Office, AS SOON AS YOU CREATE IT!!!

Better safe than sorry.


The above information is intended as general information only, not as legal advice or solicitation for legal services, and should not be relied on as such. Please consult with a local attorney in your area for specific legal questions on music copyright law.


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