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What Musicians Should Do If Their Music Gets Stolen or Uncredited

One of the most painful things for a musician to go through would have to be the risk of getting their hard work flat-out stolen or even uncredited. You put so much of your time and your heart into this, and for what? For someone else to profit from it? Whether you’re a musician or an aspiring one, it’s so important to understand that being a musician is more than collecting guitars or writing your feelings down on paper. Like other forms of content creation, you need to be cautious. Unfortunately, even to this day, music piracy is major, and it’s so common to have your stuff stolen from you, and you’re not even credited for it. 

As a musician, few things are more distressing than discovering that your music has been stolen or used without proper credit. Whether it’s a case of unauthorized sampling, plagiarism, or uncredited use in a commercial project, dealing with music theft can be a frustrating and challenging experience. 

You can’t just let people walk over you; this is something you worked so hard for, and you need to know how to navigate this! There are steps you can take to assert your rights, protect your work, and ensure that you receive proper credit and compensation. But what are they? Well, here’s what musicians should do if their music gets stolen or not credited. 

Start Off By Gathering Evidence

If you suspect that your music has been stolen or used without permission, gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This may include original recordings, songwriting notes, copyright registrations, performance contracts, correspondence with collaborators, and any other documentation that establishes your ownership of the music. Basically, you need anything and everything to prove what happened to you. 

Identify the Infringement 

Determine how your music was used without permission and identify the parties responsible for the infringement. It’s usually going to help to have copyright administration for this to make the whole process easier for you. Some examples may involve conducting online searches, monitoring streaming platforms and social media channels, and seeking input from fans or colleagues who may have encountered the unauthorized use of your music. 

Even if someone likes your music, they’re still stealing it, and you deserve credit and potentially even monetary value, too.

Contact the Infirging Party

Does it help to actually reach out to them? Will this actually do anything at all? Once you have identified the infringing party, Don’t put your hopes up, but it’s still going to be a good idea to just reach out to them directly to request proper credit and compensation for the unauthorized use of your music. Be nice (but stern) about this, provide evidence of your ownership, and assert your rights under copyright law. 

Overall, you need to be professional and diplomatic in your communication but firm in asserting your rights as the creator of the music. Sometimes, they’ll respond, sometimes they’ll ignore, maybe apologize, or even get full-on aggressive. So you should keep all of that in mind.

Consider Sending a Cease and Desist Letter

Just like what was said above, don’t get your hopes up. The infringing party might even refuse to cooperate or continue to use your music without permission; in this case, you’re going to have to consider sending a formal cease and desist letter through legal channels.

Take Legal Action

If informal negotiations and cease and desist letters fail to resolve the issue (and sadly, this happens way too often), you may need to consider taking legal action to protect your rights and seek compensation for the unauthorized use of your music. Is this an expensive route? Yes, yes, it is. But sometimes this is what you need to do. So go ahead and consult with a qualified attorney specializing in music law to explore your options and determine the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of the infringement.

Utilize Copyright Infringement Tools

YouTube is the perfect example of this because if you spot someone there using your content, you can hit the copyright claim button, and an investigation will start. It’s just a really good idea to take advantage of these resources to monitor for unauthorized use of your music and take action to enforce your rights.

In general, it’s not easy being a musician, and it’s not easy being a content creator either; you’re constantly at risk of having your things stolen and uncredited. It’s the harsh reality that nobody wants to deal with, but sadly, it is there. So, with all of that said, just be sure to know what to do, and don’t let others walk on you. This is your creation, and you have every right to protect it! 


Edel Alon
Edel Alon
Edel-Ryan Alon is a starving musician, failed artist, connoisseur of fine foods, aspiring entrepreneur, husband, father of two, geek by day, cook by night, and an all around great guy.


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