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Copyright is complicated. Most artists don’t like to think about it. And, there’s quite a bit of misinformation out there. If you’re not careful, you could end up giving up more of your creative works than you ever intended to.
That’s where Cosynd comes in. I’ll let Jessica Sobhraj, CEO of Cosynd explain.
1. Tell us about who you are and what you do.
I’m a 10+ year veteran of the music industry and advocate for gender equality that currently serves as CEO of Cosynd, an essential toolkit for creators that allows them to register their content with the U.S. Copyright Office and to easily create copyright ownership agreements with their collaborators.
With Cosynd, collaborators can reach a consensus about who owns their content, how it can be used, and more through a simple, guided automated process.
I also serve as President of Women in Music – the longest running and largest non-profit for women in the music industry that provides resources to thousands of professionals.
Prior to that, I led strategic traditional licensing opportunities for music micro-licensing pioneers Rumblefish, where I structured distribution networks in Africa, South America, Asia, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.
Prior that, I served as the Manager of Digital Content Licensing for the performing rights organization SESAC. I also sit on the advisory board of other non-profits and startups in the music/entertainment industry. In short, I’ve spent my entire career advocating for creators and creating revenue opportunities for them.
2. What is Cosynd? How does it benefit artists?
Most of the issues that creators face stem from failing to document their ownership of their content, because it was too expensive to do so or they didn’t know how to. We created Cosynd with one simple goal in mind – to make it easier and more affordable for creators to protect their content with quality tools that aren’t overwhelming to use.
Cosynd is an essential toolkit that lets creators register copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office and easily form split sheets, work for hire, and copyright ownership agreements with their collaborators.Cosynd is an essential toolkit that lets creators register copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office and easily form split sheets, work for hire, and copyright ownership agreements with their collaborators. Click To Tweet
These agreements cover ownership of music, videos, photography, illustrations, designs, screenplays, scripts, books, and more. Cosynd gets everyone on the same page about who owns their content, how it can be used, and what rights they all will have if things go wrong.
Taking care of this now will save creators the time, money, and frustration of having to fight about it in the future when things are less friendly. Creators can negotiate the terms of these agreements within a simple click-through process, invite attorneys to review (if they want to), and e-sign quickly and easily, so that they can get back to doing what they do best – creating!
There are three types of copyright ownership agreements that creators and their collaborators can make using Cosynd:
- Split Sheets – a short document that lists the percentage each collaborator owns in your work.
- Premium Ownership Agreements – a lengthier document that establishes copyright ownership AND extremely important details about your content such as which collaborators are permitted to license your content on your behalf, who may use your name and likeness, how disputes are handled, indemnification, and more.
- Work for Hire Agreements – outlines the scope and terms of work to be completed by someone you have paid to help create your content such as a contractor, freelancer, etc. This agreement is typically used when the person you have paid will not be a co-owner of your content.
3. What issues are there surrounding content ownership? Why should artists be thinking about protecting their content?
Copyright can be a complicated topic to address because of all of the nuances that exist particularly when creators collaborate. Who owns the content? What percentage does each person own? What rights does each person have and what can they do with the content?
Not addressing these issues at the time of creation leads to issues like underpayment (or no payment) when your content is licensed/sold, false claims of ownership by other collaborators, content being withheld from you by collaborators, and the removal of your content from streaming platforms. Things can get really awkward and expensive when you have to resolve these issues instead of avoiding it entirely by documenting ownership beforehand.
What most creatives aren’t aware of is that under U.S. copyright law, their collaborators have an equal claim of ownership of their content by default, unless there is an agreement in place stating otherwise. In other words, if a collaborator contributed something small to your content, they could claim the same percentage of ownership that you do and the same rights that you have!What most creatives aren’t aware of is that under U.S. copyright law, their collaborators have an equal claim of ownership of their content by default. Click To Tweet
4. How will Cosynd make it easier for artists to register their works?
In addition to giving creators the tools to create simple copyright ownership agreements, creators can also register copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office. Creators that are using Cosynd to create agreements can simply import information from those agreements about their copyrights directly to their registration application in minutes, which makes Cosynd one of the fastest and most affordable ways to register copyrights.
Creators can also start an application for an entirely new copyright. Their information populates every relevant field of their application, which saves creators the time of having to re-enter the same data repeatedly. An application can be created for a collection of copyrights, such as an album of music or a video series, or for a single copyright.
Copyright owners that register their copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office are granted a number of benefits:
- A certificate as physical proof of your registration.
- There is a public record of ownership.
- Registration gives owners the option to file an infringement suit, if necessary.
- Owners may be eligible to collect statutory damages and attorney’s fees from litigation.
- Registration is considered factual evidence in a court of law if filed within five years of publication.
- Owners can record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies of the work(s).
- Registering works entitles owners to collect damages at the basic statutory level (between $750 and $30,000 per work) at the court’s discretion. Damages may increase to $150,000 per work if the infringement was determined to be deliberate. Additionally, you may also be awarded attorney’s fees as well.
5. Is there anything else I should have asked?
If possible, we would really love to shine a light on our advisory board and team. They are all stellar and well-respected members of the creative industry that helping in meaningful ways to develop Cosynd. Their information can be found on our website and also in the press release. Thanks!
Streamlining the copyright process? How cool is that!?
If you enjoyed this interview, please take a moment to thank Jessica on Twitter: @JessicaSobhraj
And, if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to leave them below.