Five Essential Music Copyright Resources on the Web

March 15, 2013

Strong copyright law is an essential part of how songwriters and composers earn a living from their music. Yet many music creators have no idea what copyright law is, let alone how it’s impacting their lives. It’s become pretty clear in the last few years that the fate of copyright isn’t just in the hands of lawyers and lawmakers - it’s playing out on blogs, at music conferences, through social media channels and by word of mouth.

We compiled a list of five online copyright resources that will educate and provoke you, and hopefully inspire you to take action. Don’t let anti-copyright advocates dominate the discussion - read up, keep the conversation going and make your voice heard!

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The ASCAP Daily Brief newsletter - click here to sign up
This daily e-mail, compiled by ASCAP Board member Dean Kay, cuts through the media clutter to bring you links to the most relevant news and commentary on the rapidly evolving music industry. The range of topics and sources included in the Daily Brief is vast, but they’re all aimed towards empowering music creators (Kay’s a songwriter and publisher himself). Having him as a curator feels like you’re getting a private tour through the internet. It’s as vital to starting your morning right as a strong cup of coffee and a song in your heart.

Copyhype - www.copyhype.com
Blogger/lawyer Terry Hart can talk legal precedents and dissect proposed legislation for days, but he’s got an unfussy writing style that will also resonate with non-legal audiences. Lucky for us Hart is a strong believer in the importance of intellectual property. While Copyhype.com  doesn’t concentrate solely on music, Hart is great for frank and reasoned discussions of all the copyright-related topics du jour, and quite often that involves music. Every Friday he rounds up the most important copyright news from across the internet, like the ASCAP Daily Brief but with a narrower focus. The blogroll on the right side of Copyhype.com is also a great list of pro-copyright blogs and websites.

Copyright Alliance - www.copyrightalliance.org
This non-profit, non-partisan organization is dedicated to protecting the rights of creators and educating the public and lawmakers about the importance of copyright. Their website features in-depth editorials, forceful advocacy, copyright news, academic and legal papers and more. Executive Director Sandra Aistars’s blog posts are always cogent and insightful, and even the Copyright Alliance’s FAQ page is an indispensable resource.

Music Tech Policy - www.musictechpolicy.com
While Chris Castle’s fierce, opinionated blog doesn’t always focus on music, he consistently speaks truth to power, and is unafraid to call out major brands and tech companies for ignoring the rights of songwriters and composers to get paid fairly. His lucid reporting on the Internet Radio Fairness Act, and relentless criticism of Google and other websites’ hypocritical advertising policies, marks Castle as one of the most forceful advocates for the rights of music creators we’ve got.

The Trichordist - thetrichordist.com
Songwriter/guitarist David Lowery once fronted the alt-rock bands Camper van Beethoven and Cracker. He’s become a thoughtful pundit on what it’s like to be an artist in the digital age. Lowery’s not afraid to posit controversial opinions and call out websites and tech companies for hypocrisy - and we love him for it.