Thieves suck. If you’ve ever had anything stolen, you know exactly what I mean. There are all types of thieves, and in some instances I actually admire thieves, like when they steal priceless artwork and jewels, or pull off a daring bank robbery involving helicopters, nerve gas, and parachutes (or maybe I’m playing too much GTA).
When it comes to your beats, what’s the best way to protect yourself? Protecting your beats is always a necessary annoyment and it has to be done. Nobody wants to take the time to lock your beat up certain ways so that the bad guys stay away, especially since it’s damn near impossible to avoid having your beat stolen. So what do you do?
1. Copyright Your Beat
This is the safest and most surefire way of protecting your beat. There’s always been the “poor man’s copyright” method, which basically means that you write yourself a letter stating that your beat was created on such and such a date, then you mail that letter to yourself, making sure the date is stamped on the envelope by the post office. Once you get the letter, you don’t open it. I’m sure there’s some sort of benefit to this method, but I don’t think it will hold up in court at all.
The best way to do it legally is by actually filing copyright forms. When you go to the government’s copyright website, you’ll see tons of forms listed there. The section titled “Sound Recordings” is the one you want, but look around the website because there’s tons of copyright information.
If you have a beat that has samples in it, and you didn’t clear those samples, then that’s a whole different ball game. On one hand, you don’t have the permission to use those samples in your beat, but on the other hand, the composition you just made is what you’re trying to protect. I wouldn’t worry so much about sample clearance at this point, because the whole reason for copyrighting right now is to protect what YOU created.
2. Voice Tags
Right here on MyFlashStore, there’s a voice tag feature that you can and must take advantage of. If you don’t want to go the legal route for protecting your beats, and especially if you don’t want to worry about any legal issues you may encounter with uncleared samples in your beat, then voice tags are the best option.
A voice tag is dope because it’s something that gets added on top of your beat every few bars, which of course will deter any beat jackers out there. See, most people that jack beats will try to at least grab a 4-bar section of your beat and then loop it. You have to remember that beat jackers are not just trying to steal your entire beat, instead they’re looking to just loop certain parts and then call it their own. Voice tags will stop them (or at least get them really upset), and that’s the whole point.
3. Share Your Beat
Share your beat with the world! It’s free to do, but it’s the least effective of this list. The reason why I’m mentioning it is because it COULD be an effective way of not getting your beat stolen. Why? Let’s say you just finished a beat. You then upload it to various websites, such as on MyFlashStore, IllMuzik, SoundCloud, BandCamp, or anywhere else. By doing this, you’re sharing your beat with everyone online, and essentially, your beat now has a timestamp on it from whatever website you uploaded it to.
Even if someone still stole your beat, this could be something you can use in court, if needed. I know that some people will argue that all you did was upload the beat to different websites, but it might not be that clear cut. Let’s say you have a certain style to your beats and you’re known for that style. If your “sound” is easily recognizable amongst your friends and fans online, then it should help you prove that the beat you uploaded is in fact yours. I know it’s a shaky way to prove your point, but nonetheless, it could work.
The other good reason for doing this is that you could “call out” the person that stole your beat. You could go all over the internet completely trashing the thief and letting everyone know that they stole your beat! Again, if you have a “sound” or a “style”, plus you have a solid following online that knows your music, then you could have a strong case against a thief.
No matter which method you choose to protect your beats, the bottom line is that as soon as you’ve finished recording your beat, it’s yours, so make sure you protect it!