Music Business Survival Series Pt 2: History of Copyrighting




The United States Congress established the first federal copyright law in 1790, and originally the clerk of the United States District Courts filed each application. It did not take long for the first copyright certificate to be issued, which happened within the first two weeks of the offices conception. Also in 1870, the filing responsibilities were transferred to the librarian of the Library of Congress in 1897 and Thorvald Solberg was the first Register of Copyrights. Since its opening, the United States Copyright office has filed 33,200,000 applications from all sorts of authors, musicians and artists. This process allows artists to reap the benefits of their labor.

With all those filings the Register of Copyrights would be impossible without help, he is assisted by the general counsel, the associate register for registration and recordation as well as the associate register for policy and international affairs which provides legal advice and counsel to the artists and authors works they also administer the Federal Copyright Law. The Copyright act of 1976 created the need for two copies of copyrighted works to be issued to the Library of Congress. This task of not only cataloging but also enforcing Administrative Law is very daunting.

Thousands of lawyers work tireless hours to litigate on behalf of artists and their employers as to who owns what and who stole what from who and when. This tedious task may be confusing for any music aficionado much less a teenager in an up and coming rap group who only is focused on becoming a star. Many artists leave this responsibility to managers who are entrusted with the task of negotiating contracts, licenses and copyrights for their clients. These managers often are someone close to the artist like a family member or local music producer, these people often are not trained in Copyright or publishing laws and protections and they fall victim to ignorance.


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