Music Law

Music law is law defining the legal integrities involved in music industry and can be extended to certain areas falling under entertainment industry. Music law is an assemblage of laws like competition law, contract law etc. but dominated by intellectual property law which includes copyright act, trademarks law, image publicity rights etc.

The music law in United States specifically defines rights for composer, sound recording companies, singers, music publishers and entertainment companies.

Music Law Protections

The protections available are as follows:

Copyright Act

Copyright gives protection to actual song composer or lyricist who can apply for copyright for their composition or lyrics under the provisions of copyright law. It gives them exclusive right to use their work of art and they decide whom to sell or transfer the rights and at what price. Any violation of the rights can be treated as criminal offence under the federal law. Letter P inside a circle is used to denote sound recording copyright where letter P stands for phono-record.


Songwriters main earnings are from publishing of their works and in United States they usually join a collection society like ASCAP or BMI. There are many who also enters into an agreement with music companies and earn royalties on their copyright work sold.

Music Licensing

Under music licensing, the copyright holder grants a license for limited period or limited quantity usage to the license holder. Reproduction or usage beyond the limit defined requires another contract. Licensing is used for broadcasting, video production etc.


Live concerts or merchandise sell is considered as business as per United States law. The laws pertaining to normal business also comes into the picture when a musician gives live performances or concerts.

Law Article Archive