Museum for Black Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Creativity catalyzes commerce

Here are the answers to the Author/Music Rights Challenge Quizzes:

1. Protecting your writing or music is a Constitutional right.
True: Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of authors and inventors to their creations.

2. If writing or music is on the Internet you can use it without permission.
False: Except in limited cases, such as Fair Use in education, you must get permission to use material created by another.

3. You need to hire a lawyer to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.
False: Anyone can register a copyright. The U.S. Copyright Office provides clear guidelines.

4. If the author or composer is dead, you can use his or her writing or music.
False: Copyright protection continues decades after death. You can only use writing or music without permission once it is in the public domain.

5. You can use writing or music from another country without permission.
False: See the answer to 2, above.

6. You can be sued for using another's writing or music without permission.
True: And this does happen because authors and musicians want to protect the economic value of their creations, and also, of course, to get credit for them.

7. Winning a lawsuit to protect your writing or music is more likely if you registered your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.
True: Registering your copyright makes great sense if your writing or music is likely to generate a financial return to you, and you do not want someone else taking what is rightfully yours.

8. When you sign a music, performance, or employment agreement, you could be giving up rights and will have to hire a lawyer if you ever want to get them back.
True: You should know what all the terms in your agreement/contract mean, such as, "work for hire," because they could legally transfer your rights away. Then it will very likely require the services of a lawyer to get them back.

9. For the year 1978 and later, your copyright lasts for your entire life plus 70 years; then it enters the public domain.
True: The duration of copyright protection has gotten longer and longer since the time of Thomas Jefferson, and it can be even longer if the copyright is owned by a company. Some believe this long-lasting protection of prior work is actually a barrier to creativity.

10. The music composer, author of the lyrics, record label, and publisher can each have separate ownership of the same song.
True: This makes it difficult to get permission to use previously recorded music, such as for soundtracks on videos. But new online sources of music to license, such as musicbed.com, make it easy to select and use compositions for reasonable license fees and possibly other conditions.