The internet changes the way we publish and sell art

| May 7, 2020 | Copyright Law

The internet has forever altered the way that we sell art. It has made it easier than ever for artists to put their work out and find an audience all on their own, no matter how obscure it may be.

For instance, the traditional route to publishing a book was to write a manuscript, find an agent, have that agent pitch it to publishing companies and then hope to get a deal with one of them. After that, the editors worked with you to get the book ready for publication and then they distributed it.

Now, writers can simply publish their own work through Amazon. It’s wildly popular. In fact, in 2018, the total number of self-published books went up by a full 40%.

It’s not just books. Music has taken a similar path. Record companies used to be a necessity. They paid for recording and then distributed physical albums. Now, artists can just record their own music on a computer and upload it to a site like SoundCloud. They can also sell it on iTunes. SoundCloud in particular has millions of users and just got a $70 million investment from Twitter. It’s clear that a lot of recording artists do not want to bother with getting “discovered” in the traditional manner.

Naturally, though, all of this self-published work just opens the door for theft and plagiarism. Do artists know how to copyright their work? Do they know what to do when that copyright is violated? Is that more likely to happen with self-published art?

These are important questions to ask and modern artists need to research their legal options.