Protect Your Music From Piracy

7 Ways to Protect Your Music From Piracy

For many musicians, one of the biggest problems they face upon getting famous is having their music pirated in various ways. A longstanding problem within the music industry, piracy has been around for almost as long as there have been musicians. Whether it was bootlegged vinyl records, taping music, or the days of Napster, the fact is piracy will always be trying to use the latest technology to get the music it wants. To guard against your music and other works from falling victim to pirates, here are seven reasons why getting a sound protects your work from piracy.

Audio and Video Watermarks

If you are not familiar with watermarks, they are simply brands, logos, or names that are indelibly burned into an image. By doing so, it makes it very difficult for anyone else to use the image without your permission. However, while video watermarks are actually quite common and have been in use for many years, many artists are just now starting to discover audio watermarks as a viable way to protect their work from piracy. While the technology for this is still in its infancy, it is advancing rapidly. Essentially, audio watermarks can be used to embed so-called “invisible sounds” into a track. By doing so, it then becomes very easy to spot someone who is copying the track.


Back in the days of vinyl records, crossfading was widely used by many artists and recording companies. With this technique, the fade in/fade out element contains elements of multiple tracks, making it very difficult to copy. While many musicians think this is a technique that went out of style decades ago, the fact is it can still be used very effectively with today’s technology. Providing a natural barrier to track-by-track piracy, crossfading messes up the start and stop points of songs. Thus, it makes piracy very difficult, since songs cannot be taken out of context and released individually without pirates doing extensive editing, all of which is sure to be spotted very quickly.

Fair Use Regulations

When fair use regulations are used properly, they can be very effective against piracy. In these cases, this usually involves songs that are being sampled or remixed. Most of the time, those doing so will give credit to the original artist. However, depending upon your situation, just having the music being used in this manner will often generate plenty of positive publicity for you and your music. Thus, even if the samples being used are longer than what is called for in fair use regulations and other related rules and regulations, you probably should allow it to continue. If for any reason you are not being given the credit you feel is deserved for your music, most industry experts recommend using social media to air your grievances. By doing so, it lets you take your case directly to your fans, rather than jumping immediately into a courtroom.

Use a Safe Recording Studio

While some of the greatest music of all-time has been recorded in what many would call less-than-stellar settings, today’s technology and the ever-increasing threats of piracy dictate that your recording sessions be done in a recording studio that is as state-of-the-art as possible. Surprisingly to many artists, having an open internet connection in a studio during a recording session can actually put your music at greater risk of piracy, since pirates can use this to tap into your recording session. To keep this from happening, always try to have a No-Internet Use policy in effect during all recording sessions.

Securing Your Hard Drive

If you have ever been around a music studio during a recording session, one thing you have probably noticed is the amount of security in and around the building. While most studios place a premium on having security to keep unauthorized individuals from sneaking in during a session, they often fail to take the same amount of precautions regarding tech security. Because of this, most musicians are now told to have total control over their recordings by securing the hard drive that will contain the recordings. To do so, tech security experts recommend not only bringing your own hard drive with you to a recording session, but also packing it up and taking it with you when you leave.

Uploading Low-Quality Recordings

While to many musicians this may sound like the wrong thing to do, most tech security experts recommend uploading low-quality recordings as a way to guard against piracy. By doing so, the recordings will still be good enough to please most fans, but not clear and precise enough to satisfy most pirates, who are wanting only the sharpest and most sophisticated recordings available to them. To accomplish this and discourage pirates from stealing your music, it is usually best to upload recordings that have a compression rate of less than 49 kilobits per second.

Provide Your Contact Information

For many musicians who want to decrease the risks of piracy with their music, the easiest way to do so is by simply providing up-to-date contact information with their music. When doing so, it thus becomes very easy for others to contact them seeking permission to use their music. For example, by providing your email address or Twitter handle, those wanting to use your music for remixes or in other ways will have little trouble getting in touch with you. Along with this, if you provide easy-to-use contact information and someone does indeed pirate your music, you will have a far stronger legal case if it goes to court. So while this may sound extremely simple, it is generally viewed as a very effective tool against piracy.

Since you have worked hard for many years to become a professional musician, you certainly have the right to reap the rewards of your hard work. Thus, if you find out your music is being pirated, do not hesitate to contact an IP law firm as soon as possible. By doing so, you and your music will be protected

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