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Protecting Producers’ Copyrights: A Proposal for Group Registration of Non-Sample-Based Musical Beats
“Beats” are the instrumental tracks that form the foundation of hip-hop, pop, and EDM songs. The authors who create them, often called producers or beatmakers, make hundreds or thousands of new distinct beats each year to raise their chance of attaining commercial success. But wholesale pirating of original beats has become rampant, and authors face significant obstacles in the search for remedies. One such obstacle is the great difficulty and expense of registering the copyrights associated with hundreds or thousands of original beats.
Registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is a critical step to obtaining most of the remedies available to a copyright owner. In particular, an owner cannot sue for copyright infringement unless the work has been registered. Registration of each individual work requires an application and filing fee. For a prolific author like a beatmaker, the time and money required to register each work quickly becomes exorbitant. The Copyright Office has promulgated several group registration options, which allow an applicant to register multiple works with a single application and filing fee, but none of the existing options adequately address beatmakers’ predicament.
This Note submits that the Register of Copyrights create a new group registration option for non-sample-based musical beats. While group registration options undoubtedly come with administrative challenges, this Note addresses those challenges head on and proposes a solution that both promotes the registration of beats and is administratively feasible.
Protecting Producers’ Copyrights: A Proposal for Group Registration of Non-Sample-Based Musical Beats,
33 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media & Ent. L.J. 873
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/iplj/vol33/iss4/3