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, which can help in the case of a legal dispute to prove you are the true rights holder. If you need assistance with copyrighting your music, we can help with our partnership with CoSynd!
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 handshake (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 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 artist you deal with to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding 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 to 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 the immediate cancellation of your agreement. 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 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, 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 scan your audio to ensure that we distribute material that is not previously released and/or illegally sampled. In addition, once uploading into various providers, if we receive any 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 permit us 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 a 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 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 using 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 an 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 it's potentially okay 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 further resources available to help you submit a claim for copyright infringement. Going the legal dispute route is beneficial, especially if you have a loved one who has passed on and/or you are getting no support or feedback from the label that has distributed the product.