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Can someone use my music without my permission?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Entertainment Law |

As an artist, discovering unauthorized use of your music can be both frustrating and worrying. In Georgia, the laws protect your creations, ensuring you have exclusive rights to distribute, reproduce and perform your music. Someone using your music without permission may infringe on your copyright.

Understanding copyright infringement and potential penalties

Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses your protected work music without your consent. This could involve someone playing your song in a public setting, using it in a video or even distributing copies without your approval.

The penalties for copyright infringement can be severe. They may include statutory damages ranging from $750 to $30,000 per work infringed, which can increase if the court finds the infringement was willful. Additionally, infringers may have to cover all legal fees and court costs. In some cases, criminal charges might apply, leading to even more severe penalties.

Taking legal action against copyright infringement

If you find someone using your music without permission, take immediate action.

  • Collect proof: Gather as much evidence as possible and document where and how the infringement occurred. This could involve taking screenshots, saving URLs or obtaining copies of the unauthorized use.
  • Contact the infringer: Sometimes, the person or entity using your work may not know they infringe on your copyright. A straightforward and professional approach could resolve the issue quickly. You can send a formal cease-and-desist letter explaining the infringement and asking them to stop the unauthorized use immediately.
  • Negotiate a potential settlement: If the infringer cooperates, consider negotiating a settlement. This could involve them paying for the past use of your music and arranging a license agreement for future use. This can be a quicker resolution than going to court.

If the cease-and-desist letter does not work, you may want to seek a legal professional who can provide specific solutions suited to your situation or other legal options, such as a lawsuit.

Protecting your music from unauthorized use is crucial. Understanding your rights and the steps to take when infringement occurs can help safeguard your artistic expression.