Legally speaking, your music is copyrighted the moment you make it. You are not required to register your copyrights with a government office prior to distributing it through Symphonic, however many feel more comfortable registering their copyrights before making their songs available for worldwide distribution and this can help in the case of a legal dispute to prove you are the true rights holder. If you need assistance with registering your work with the US Copyright office, feel free to create a ticket for feedback.
Rights to Distribute
Not only do you need permission but you need an agreement to ensure that you have the rights to distribute, if you are self-distributing we recommend you keep additional records of all of your works. If you need agreement(s), please click here. (Please note that we're not a law firm or service and that you should always consult with an attorney and/or seek representation if you wish to do so.)
Additionally, make sure that you always check and screen the music. You want to ensure that it is 100% original with cleared samples and nothing that may land you in trouble. Don't release any music on a hand shake (or other informal agreement), make sure you fill out a legal agreement or you may suffer legal repercussions from the rights-holder in the case of a dispute.
If you have a legally binding and valid agreement with the artist to which the artist has granted you the all the necessary rights, you have the power to enter into an agreement with Symphonic Distribution. In the case of record labels, you should have legally binding agreements with each and every artist you deal with to ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of how much is distributed across the Internet.
If you have obtained all relevant consent from the artist, musicians, producers, mixers and other persons or entities involved in the production of the recordings, you are fully liable to the terms of which you have both agreed to. We recommend that any record label or artist have a legally binding agreement to further protect each other from any legal proceeding that may occur.
Certifying that you are the rights holder when you are not is a criminal act and may result in legal actions against you. If we discover you are committing illegal acts, it will result in immediate cancellation of your agreement and our partners or any other third party that has been affected by your wrongdoing will have the option to resolve the issue in a legal case.
Symphonic Distribution must guarantee to our partners that we have licensed the rights to distribute the content in the territories specified in the metadata, otherwise they cannot sell the music in the given territories. If you can’t guarantee that you are the rights holder then we cannot guarantee to our partners that we have licensed the rights and thereby they cannot sell your music on their platform.
Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works.
In music, if you sample a portion of a song without permission, use someone else's complete song, and/or use a trademarked name, copyrighted image, etc., you may be liable for copyright infringement.
Symphonic has proprietary technology and partnerships that scans your audio to ensure that we are distributing material that is not previously released and/or illegally sampled. In addition, once uploading into various providers, if we receive any sort of legal dispute or complaint we act immediately.
Any time that an issue arises, we will not be responsible. We are simply a music distribution company that works with record labels and artists who grant us the permission to deliver the music from their location to servers of partners and digital service providers all over the world thus, if we are to receive any cease and desist for your material, we will not be held responsible and any and all legal fees will be passed down to you.
Symphonic has a ZERO tolerance policy for anyone that is purposely abusing and committing copyright infringement, this includes not only audio samples but any art already under copyright as well. Repeated offenders may be penalized with monetary hits to their account or even strikes that potentially will blacklist you on a partner's platform, Symphonic also reserves the right to remove users from our service if they are found to repeatedly violate copyright.
Avoiding Copyright Violations
To avoid submitting works already under copyright, we recommend you play the material and use Shazam and/or Soundhound to see if it picks any samples, this sounds very simple but is often very helpful in seeing if the song is originally produced.
For album art we recommend you use websites such as photodune.net if you want to get stock art to use in your covers. These effectively give you a license.
We then recommend you create a contract that a artist or fellow co-musician signs that clearly states that all of the material, every piece of it is 100% original. If any samples are used, ask where and note it down on the agreement. There are sample sites that let you do productions with sound samples so its potentially ok for some samples but you want to document as much as possible.
Copyright Violations by Clients
Copyright Takedowns (Filing a claim)
If you feel your work is the victim of copyright infringement, we have a resource prepared that gives you steps on how to do this. It is available here. At times going the legal dispute route is beneficial especially if you have a loved one that has passed on and/or you are getting no support or feedback from the labels' that have distributed the product.