Protecting Your Music from Illegal Use or Distribution

Protecting Your Music from Illegal Use or Distribution

By NationWide Source
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Musicians need to worry about a lot of things: protecting their gear, booking more gigs, connecting with fans, writing music, recording music, whether or not to pursue deals with record labels, and so on. Sadly, one of the biggest issues that affects all musicians at some point is illegal music distribution.

When To Worry About Illegal Distribution

If you are an up-and-coming artist, you might not be worried about illegal music distribution. You might reason that people playing your songs, even if they’re doing it illegally, is a good thing. This attitude, while somewhat understandable, can hurt you in the long run. If you’re a more-established artist who has recorded music and is making money, you’re likely going to be worried about illegal distribution.

Regardless of the stage you’re at, if you find your music being misused or unlawfully distributed, you should be concerned and act on it. Acting swiftly is key to preventing further illegal distribution, so knowing your options ahead of time is a good idea.

How Do You Track Illegal Distribution?

Well, you could spend your free time scouring the internet for illegal uses. Or, you could use a service that alerts you when your band/songs/albums appear. Google Alerts will send you emails anytime your designated keywords appear online, but this still requires sifting through legitimate versus illegal activity.

Another method for tracking illegal use is Topple Track. This service offers perpetual protection for illegal use anywhere online. It provides musicians with detailed reports, and verified problems are handled in as little as 24 hours. Pricing for this service ranges based on how many songs you want covered. For only one or two songs, coverage is $7 per song. For more than ten songs, it costs as little as $3 per song. Either way, you have ongoing protection for a very reasonable fee.

Your Options

If you use ToppleTrack, the company will work to remove the offensive uses for you. If you’ve gone another route, you have a few options:

  • You can shut your eyes, put your fingers in your ears, sing at the top of your lungs, and ignore it. (We don’t recommend this option.)
  • You can contact the offenders directly and ask that they remove and cease the illegal usage. (It might work, it might not.)
  • If you’re a member of a PRO, they might be able to step in, either advising you with courses of action or acting on your behalf.
  • You could have a lawyer step in and contact the offenders.

When contacting offenders, you can simply ask that they remove the illegal content, or you could ask for reimbursement (following standard licensing fees for use or using retail prices if the music was shared or downloaded). Lawsuits might not win you popularity, but they could help you recover the money you lost and prevent future losses.

Keeping guard over illegal music distribution is something that all musicians in this day and age need to be aware of. A service like Topple Track helps keep an ever-vigilant eye open for you and your work.

Has your music been illegally distributed? How did you discover the illegal use, and how did you address the issue?

See also: Copyright Your Music: The Why and How, Music and Royalties: What You Should KnowThe Why and How of Music Licensing

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