How My Music Was Plagiarized for Profit and How I Fought Back

My music stolen, rebranded, and exploited for profit.

Late August, I learned my music had been appropriated, rebranded, and sold across every major music store and streaming service including iTunes, Beatport, Amazon, Spotify, and Deezer.  Over 150 instances were found in legitimate sites, not to mention the countless appearing on illegal networks.

I pray you never find yourself here, but if you do, here’s how I fought back.

The Music Stolen

I’ve spent a lot of time deliberating over music.  Far too much.  I’ve lost a decade to tinkering.

Over the years, I’ve started hundreds of projects, but canned just as many. There’s always been a disconnect between what I imagined and what I produced. No song made the cut.

Come 2012, it was time for a change.  I was determined to make my start, but I knew I had a skill deficit to overcome.

To close the gap, I began fiftytwocreatives.  Each week, I would start and finish a unique concept – often musical in nature – and release it for public consumption come Sunday.

The project proved fruitful. Once slow and uncertain, I became fluid and sure. I wasn’t done learning – as I trust I’ll never be – but I knew how to actualize my ideas.  I hold one in particular, “Into Ether”, very dear.  A floaty, piano-driven piece with a dubstep-inspired crescendo, the track set the tone for my inaugural release, “Into Ether EP”.

It was simple, and it wasn’t perfect, but I finally had a body of work I was proud of.

And then it got plagiarized.

The Notice

On August 24th, I was greeted by YouTube with several copyright notices waiting for me.

“Curious,” I whispered to myself.

Allegedly, my videos infringed on tracks registered to a someone named “Joseph Ti” via Kontor New Media.

“Surely, a computer error,” I thought.  I was wrong.  I was so very wrong.

A nervous search for Joseph Ti brought me to Beatport.  Familiar-sounding titles filled the charts.

“Into The Deep? No …”

I took a deep breath and reluctantly hit play.  Those familiar chords played out.

My eyes widened and my stomach churned.

This wasn’t someone borrowing a melody – or even all of them.  No, this was my music, stripped from Soundcloud, renamed, and sold for profit.

“Uncharted” became “Tomorrow”.
“Aeolus” became “Voice of the Wind”.
“Into Ether” became “Into the Deep”.
“Halcyon” became “Impassive”.

“Aeolus” already means wind.  “Into the Deep” – really?  And Joseph Ti?  They didn’t even try to cover this.

I was livid.  Seething.  Even now, I can feel my lunch moving up my throat.

I searched desperately for Joseph Ti, but to no avail. He had my music in every major store and streaming service, but beyond that, I couldn’t find him or his labels.  He was invisible and impossible to reach – a ghost alias used explicitly to rip me off.

So, I started at the bottom.

Fighting Back: The Approach and Preparation

Before I dive in, know that kindness is king. No one wants to help a jerk.  While you need be stern with what you want, understand that the intermediaries you meet are not at fault.  In my experience, they’ve all been sympathetic to my plight.  It’s also in their best interest to avoid litigation and they will likely help where they can.

Documentation will save you time and heartache.  Should this ever befall you, the onus is yours to prove your claim.  If you’re not keeping records and securing your work in permanent, public, time-stamped mediums, start now.

My proof lay with YouTube.  Thankfully, I had used each song from “Into Ether EP” in a video leading up to its release.  Each upload had an unmoveable date of publication, preceding all plagiarized instances by months.   Whether or not these would hold in court, I cannot say, but they were enough for me to get takedowns.

Come infringement, scour Google and log every instance of plagiarism you find.  Search for the artist and song title in quotation marks (e.g. “Joseph Ti” “Into The Deep”) for exact results.  Collect as much information as you can about the infringement (including, but not exclusive to) song titles, artist names, album titles, and associated labels; at the very least, sites will require the URLs of the content in question.

Before you contact anyone, take screenshots of all infringing content as these listings will change once takedowns are processed.  Screen Capture for Google Chrome and FireShot for Firefox are both simple, free tools that should help.

Fighting Back: YouTube

YouTube was my biggest worry.  As a Google entity, everything about it is automated.  Disputes are siloed down specific paths, whether or not they fit that course.  I feared my case would get stuck in limbo and without resolution, YouTube – the second-largest search engine in the world – would forever mark my music as Joseph Ti’s.

I filed my counter notification (which is supposed to be delivered to the claiming party), but to be doubly sure, I approached Kontor New Media myself.

My emails were answered with silence.  A public Facebook post was quickly met with assurances that all would be solved, but it wasn’t until my fourth letter that my notice was acknowledged and resolved.  Thankfully, one of their junior staff reached out and helped me remove the material from YouTube’s Content ID system, albeit a painful 19 days after my first notice.

Kontor’s one of the larger distributors, so if you end up in dispute with them or another major, I advise persistence and trying them on public channels.  Sometimes, when inboxes get full, social media is the better way to get attention.

Fighting Back: The Stores and Streamers

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (better known as the DMCA) is amazing.  Although a US standard, this template was graciously accepted internationally.  For most sites, the offending material was removed within days of sending the takedown notice.  For others, I’m still waiting, but having the tool sped the overall process along greatly.

Once you’ve filled in the template, you’ll need to find the right department.  For American sites, there’s a comprehensive list of copyright departments.  iTunes has a proprietary form.  For international sites, you’ll often find them at [email protected] or [email protected]  If not there, general channels can often pass you along to the right person.

In your dealings, ask about who distributed the music and about royalty reporting.  Stores and streaming services seldom deal directly with artists, but instead use intermediaries called distributors to streamline the process.  Stores and streaming services can help you determine financial damages, but it’ll be the distributors who can help you find your thief.

* You guys should know that iTunes and Deezer are awesome.  I can’t name specifics about iTunes, but Deezer’s Justin Erdman made a point to make sure everything was taken care of – while on vacation.  So much gratitude to both groups!

Fighting Back: The Distributors

As with the stores, each distributor was sent a DMCA notice, tailored to their releases.  Each was empathic and quick to act, sending another wave of takedowns from their end.  The number of plagiarized releases began to dwindle.

While each distributor was helpful, Proton SoundSystem, or more specifically, its CEO, Jason Wohlstadter, went above and beyond.  Jason took the time to walk me through the situation, introduce me to the offending parties, and set up an account to assign me the misaligned royalties.  Even now, he continues to help me with takedowns.

Your mileage may vary, but if you can find a Jason Wohlstadter to back you up, your ordeal will be much shorter and much less painful.  If you’re going to find answers, be sure to ask at this junction; the distributors are the direct contact of the offending parties, and should you pursue litigation, you’ll need their information.

Fighting Back: The Pirates

With stores and distributors closing the gap on both ends, I was eager to end this debacle, but then came the pirates.

Steal my music?  I can accept that and can even appreciate the exposure.  Steal my music with someone else’s name on it?  Oh, man. I wanted to hurl.

Unlike stores and streaming services, few piracy sites acknowledge takedown notices.  The ones that do were too many to count and difficult to reach.

Enter Topple Track – an automated system that does the heavy lifting for crushing pirated material.  Although outside of their usual routine, they took to my situation, and to date, have removed 131 pirated copies.  Instances of Joseph Ti still appear in search, but the numbers have decreased appreciably and I’ve yet to try manual submissions.

While this scar may be permanent, at least now I have a bandage to hide – and I hope with time – heal it.

Thankfully, all wasn’t dark on the piracy front, either; through this process, I managed to win over a handful of new fans.

During my search for pirated material, I found a small group who uploaded the plagiarized material to YouTube.  If this happens to you, approach these people with kindness; these are folks who enjoy your music, albeit under someone else’s name.  I gently explained my situation to them and everyone responded with sympathy.  Most removed their videos, while others opted to rename their clips, but they all still gravitate around my feeds and I’m very happy to have them.

The Aftermath

The hard truth is that Joseph Ti is still out there – and likely will be for a very long time, if not forever.  Spotify (removed!), Shazam (in process), 7 Digital (removed!), and Musicload still list plagiarized content.  Last.fm continues to track scrobbles. Pirates perpetuate the spread of mislabeled material.

Many people have suggested that I register my copyright. In Canada, copyright is automatic as soon as one affixes their creation to a physical or digital medium. Even if my work was registered, I doubt the guilty party checked or cared.  Registration doesn’t offer anything for prevention, but it does help in litigation – which is something I won’t be pursuing.  It’s time to let this go.

While it’s frustrating that so much is left, my fight is over. Most income sources have been shuttered. My music is now in stores, streaming sites, and YouTube’s Content ID system, so hopefully, this won’t happen again without duplication flags going off.  All I can do from here is grow.

There’s no happy ending here, but at least with this post, I can finally move on.  Heaven forbid this ever happen to you, but if it does, I hope my story helps.

Thank you again to all of the brilliant, kind-hearted people who helped me through this.  As always, I’m so lucky to have you guys!

The Post-Reddit Update (2013/11/22)

I’ve never seen my server seize the way it did last night.  Thank you all for your kindness and support!  Spent late hours resizing and optimizing things, so we should have smooth(er) sailing from here.

There’ve been a lot of great comments coming out of social channels, and there are a few recurring themes I want to tackle:

That’s horrible and this is why I don’t post my work; I’m scared someone will steal it.

I know it’s hard to believe, but as the person in this story, I can still say with full confidence that you should still share your work.  I’m a photographer, too; misappropriation happens a lot.

We put ourselves out there, and we’re probably going to get hurt – be it by theft, or rejection, or heartache – but we’re there for something greater, and ultimately, that’s worth the pain.

We leave our homes every day, and by being outside, maybe we won’t make it home at night, but there’s so much of the world to see. We should see it!

You work hard for your craft. I’ve likely not experienced it, but I’d be sad if I didn’t get the chance.

Should a time come where you are facing theft, I hope this article helps you take it down quickly and judiciously.  It’s just one blip.  You can move beyond it and onto better things.

Don’t let the jerks win.  Go get that dream!

I bet you’re not the only one this has happened to.

No – I’m not.  I’m not at liberty to name this person (yet), but I found another artist in the same situation; our material was being sold on the same compilation.  I’ve reached out to him, and hopefully, I can bring him on board for this.  He’s really talented and deserves some closure.

I don’t doubt that there’s more.  Just look at these compilations:

  • Astrolabe Chill 02
  • Bora Bora Chill
  • Bora Bora Beach Chill
  • Chillout Session 04
  • Chillout Session 05
  • Chillout Shock 11
  • Everest Relax 02
  • Moonlight Chill
  • Moonlight Chill 03
  • Moonlight Chill 04
  • Moonlight Chill Vol 02
  • Slow Time 05
  • The Best of Chillstep 2013
  • Top 20 Chillstep
  • Top 30 Fresh Chillout
  • TOP25 Chill Emotion
  • Tracks For Your Listening Pleasure 015
  • Tracks For Your Listening Pleasure 016

… published by these labels:

  • Astrolabe Recordings
  • Aventuel
  • Cartoon Fresh
  • Easy Summer
  • Litova Records
  • Magnetic United
  • Slowmore
  • Somnambulist Records
  • Sunboom

If you’ve been wrongfully featured on these compilations or by these labels, we should talk.

* Huge disclaimer: this list is not here to condemn anyone.  I was hesitant to post it as there may be legitimate artists on the other end, but “Tracks For Your Listening Pleasure 015″ – really?  Please, no malice with this information, but do keep an eye out.

How much money did Joseph Ti make off your music?

I’m afraid I only have a partial picture of that.  Some storefronts provided royalty statements, but not all.  Same for the distributors.  It definitely wasn’t $5 as some might have guessed, but it’s not a figure I’m losing sleep over.  The real loss here comes from brand damage and defamation.  Even if I never recover a single penny from this ordeal, I’m okay – but I’m going to shut down as much of this as I can get my music back!

You should have registered your copyright before posting it online!

In Canada, a work is automatically copyrighted as soon as one affixes their creation to a physical or digital medium.  Registering helps in proving ownership, but it doesn’t protect me from brazen cash grabs like this.  It’s more reactionary than defensive.  That said, if I were to litigate, that registration would help immensely.

What I should have done from the start – and did as soon as I could – was distribute my material to the larger stores (although the album was always on Bandcamp), streaming services, and Content ID.  I imagine each store would have duplicate content flags, but if not, then at least I could say I published it first.

Did you ever find Joseph Ti?  What are you going to do with him?

I did! – or at least, the person collecting the royalties.  I was told revenues for “Joseph Ti” were assigned to this party instead of the label manager.  Very fishy. There’s absolutely underhanded play happening – but probably by this individual and not the label.  Still, I don’t know for certain, and I’m reluctant to name parties without unshakable evidence.  I can’t ruin someone just because I’m 99.5% sure he screwed me over.

As far as law suits go, no I won’t be pursuing litigation.  This comment sums up my thoughts perfectly.  That said, the person be receiving an email with this article the Reddit post, kindly suggesting he stop.  I’ll leave him to infer the alternate course.

You should keep your project files as proof of ownership.

Very true!  I actually made a point that I was the sole holder of the project files in each of the takedown notices.  These files were also in email backups long before the material went live. I didn’t have to use them, but had this case gone further, they would have been huge in proving ownership.

We want to hear your music on our favourite sites!  Maybe even for free?

And I’ll gladly oblige!  Here’s a list of major sites you can find my work on, most of which offer full, unlimited streams:

The Post-Media Update (2014/01/17)

The ball keeps rolling! Since this post went up, I’ve had a chance to appear on television via Steele on Your Side with Lynda Steele on CTV News British Columbia and radio via The Shift with Mike Mike Eckford on CKNW. A giant thank you to Marc Smith for making the connections!

For the readers who prefer French, The Pink Beaver from France was kind enough to translate an interview as well.

  • thisissami

    Wow! What an ordeal… I’m glad you have a positive attitude about this and seem to have recovered as well as you can. Good on you for writing this!!

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Thanks as always, Sami!

  • Lynne Everest

    Thanks for sharing your story. You’re very talented…keep at it! You really rock and the other guy sucks and his criminal actions are his only reward.

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      My pleasure, Lynne! I really appreciate that!

  • Benjamin

    Hey man I saw your post on Reddit. I don’t know if you saw, but according to spotify your song Into the Ether is on 4 albums including “Chillout Session vol 4″ “Bora Bora Beach Chill” “The Best of Chillstep 2013″ and “Top 30 Fresh Chillout” all under the name Joseph Ti. I would look to contact whoever does these and either get the artist name changed to yours, get some royalties or sue them. Idk. I think your music is great, best wishes.

    • Streetfools

      I’m really digging this “Into the Ether” Song. Now I want to go on spotify and listen, but don’t want to boost this other person’s plays. What do I do!? haha

      • Patrick Richardson

        Fight the good fight and avoid spotify for this specific reason. Go to youtube, purchase the track ,or use any other morally positive avenue. A hard-working independent artist deserves his due, specially when their work touches other people.

        • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

          You’re a champ, sir. I have a lot of respect and gratitude for that.

      • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

        I appreciate that, but I’m on Spotify too!

        https://play.spotify.com/artist/4kaKtscY9uw3TitaJYWOyd

        • Streetfools

          Sweet, Thanks.

        • George M. Tau

          Hi Jeremy and all. Thanks for your story man, teas a good fight you git there, blessed are you days you already have fought and won. And if you think you are a jerk I’ll say Hell No! You are not. I am a jerk! A jerk is me George Tau of South Africa! Why..? Here it goes.. From 1992 to 2006 i wrote over 150 lyrics recording all their melodies on tape.
          What happened is that some syndicate found out my treasure and and found ways to lay their hands on them. These were allegedly sold in USA and Europe. Later to Asia and South America. All my efforts to use Internet were frustrated as i used internet cares controlled (bribery) by them. At this moment i have a website made off Publisher but struggle to publish it. All these years they kept me suppressed using bribery. I tried the police, copyright organisations but failed.The media too is gagged.
          How can you guys out there help me?… I live in poverty but have +100 R&B/POP songs. I send you copy of my site hope it reaches you. Thanks once more for your story.

    • Bizzle Dizzle

      It’s the same on Google Play with “Into the Deep” from “Bora Bora Beach Chill” and “Tomorrow” on “The Best of Chillstep 2013″. Those are the only two on Google Play under the name Joseph Ti.

  • Hoffmann

    You might do well for getting rid of the remaining fake copies if you don’t name him and his songs directly, this article is turning up everywhere.

    • Benjamin Eugene NElson

      I dont know if that’s true. I will avoid the name and let people know the guy is a thief.

      Besides, if he doesn’t who’s to say people won’t think he stole the music from the thief?

  • Matthew Wilson

    Your music is beautiful, the kind of wonderful ambience that I love to read to, and it upsets me to think that someone with such a prolific output can have their work so bluntly stolen by someone else for such cavalier aims. I’m just a poor student but when I have cash, I’m buying from you. Good job fighting to get your work back. Good luck for future endeavours.

  • Joost

    First of all great chillout music m8! Second I hope the amount of revenue you stand to make by going after your deserved royalties exceeds the cost of litigation because someone need to pay for such blatant piracy. I agree that pirated material with your name still on it is a whole other story than someone actually passing it of as their own. Bastards!
    Good luck fighting the good fight!

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Thanks so much, Joost! I’m afraid litigation is out of reach at the moment. He’s far away and I’ve spent way too much on this already. That said, the support that’s come of this? Really amazing. I’m very grateful for all of the support!

  • http://codeflow.org/ Florian Bösch

    There’s a two things missing from your entry, that could’ve saved you a lot of trouble.

    1) Register a content ID on youtube for your content, so nobody else gets to takedown your videos.

    2) Upload your content to the various pirate sharing sites/trackers yourself, fully with correct author and title, as to prevent or diminish the impact of others claiming authorship and vandalizing song titles.

    It might sound silly to be your own pirate, but, choose the lesser of two veewils, if claim of authorship bothers you more than piracy, clearly there’s a simple solution for that.

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      1) You’re absolutely right and I’ve updated the post to include that.

      2) A good idea, but I think uploading it to storefronts and streaming services accomplishes the same thing and gives artists a bit more of an edge in court. From an exposure standpoint, it’s definitely worked out well for a good chunk of artists.

  • skilial

    I had something similar happen to me, only the person(s) took the music which was instrumental and added vocals. I contacted the copyright infringement departments of Amazon, Youtube, and Rhapsody. I also received a plea from the offending “artist” to let it slide, explaining that she thinks there are great differences between my songs and hers. Eventually, I dropped one of the disputes and decided to step out of music production for fear that my new found hobby would end up with lawsuits that I can’t afford. My work is call “PC Load Letter”, “n00b”, and “Determined,” by skilial. It isn’t great, but its mine. I am sorry for your troubles and hope you get everything you deserve! Keep up the fight!

    • aliensporebomb

      I wouldn’t stop at all. The person who committed a wrong against you should have asked for permission to do a remix or something. It’s sad because your work as an artist was ground to a halt because of one inconsiderate person. If I were you I would continue and then make each piece of music somewhat indicative of your style: a digital sample of the phrase “skiial in the house” or the like so that if bucky mcgillicuddy tries to steal it as their own it’s already been “branded” so to speak. Even instrumental work can have identifying characteristics of your own.

  • Emby

    I appreciated the way in which you dealt with pirates as people. Remember that although many pirates feel like music should be available freely, and have no qualms about infringement, they often feel *very* differently about plagiarism.

    And in this instinct, I think they are correct. Many of the issues surrounding copyright infringement are economic issues, rather than strictly moral ones. (After all, the purpose of copyright is NOT to remunerate artists, but to ensure a greater and more diverse supply of freely available art!)

    But claiming that you have made something, when you have merely copied it, goes against a deeper, more moral instinct. That is never OK.

    • Benjamin Eugene NElson

      Doubly so when you are making money from it.

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Pirates -are- people, not to mention, your fans. Who pirates something they don’t like? We all consume media in different ways. Not everyone’s going to agree on the methods, but in my situation, it’d have been really silly to take out my frustrations on someone who’s saying, “Guys – this sounds good! You should hear it!” Kindness worked wonderfully. They all turned out to be awesome people.

      That said, I should stress that pitching in for an artist does go a long way – even for the part-timers and hobbyist. A lot of the time, sales are validation that the work is good and worthy of pursuit. I know we have likes and favourites and ratings, but when you get a vote from someone’s wallet? You know it’s serious love.

      And then there’s the hunger thing. For a lot of musicians, this is literally all they do.

      I’ve been so lucky to have generous benefactors – particularly the Reddit community with this article – who have me so pumped up for my next projects. I still have to augment my income elsewhere, but I’m really grateful for the push!

  • pk@fire

    Wow so happy that everything turned out well for you!

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Getting there! Thank you!

  • Suburban_dad

    Came here from Reddit to say your music is perfect chill..Get that shit in the SOMAFM rotation!

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Thanks so much! I’ve never heard of SomaFM before, but I’ll give them a shout once I clear things up a bit more. Just found out Joseph Ti is showing up on Shazam. Really gross stuff.

  • galaxy_dove

    Wow what an ordeal! I feel the only appropriate thing to do now is to create an alias “Joseph Ti” and start flooding the internet with HORRIBLE music :D

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Hah – that’s actually poetic, but let’s keep our eyes forward, yeah? No point giving that guy more of our time and energy.

      • galaxy_dove

        Yes, no point really to stoop to his level but it would be sweet revenge!

        I have been on the receiving end of plagiarism multiple times, but never by a complete stranger ; I can’t imagine how you must have felt!! Thanks so much for sharing your experience, I learned a lot from your article and feel like it will come in handy in the future.

        Great tunes b.t.w :D

        • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

          Yeah – I definitely chuckled at the idea though.

          I imagine it must have been worse coming from friends. I’m so sorry! I hope you got it sorted out?

          And thank you!

          • galaxy_dove

            Yeah it really sucked…found out during a tour when the vinyl of the new release showed up. Zero writing credit on the A-side, just a “programming” credit. Realized then the company i was keeping was not to be trusted, and that release was the last collaboration i would have with this “artist”.

          • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

            So brutal. I seldom start any collaborations without a contract. It was a practice that preceded this whole plagiarism thing, but sometimes, this stuff can be done even without malice, you know? “Oh, we never discussed that so I didn’t know you wanted [X].” Slows things down at the start, but man, it really helps speed things along from there.

            Not sure if you’re interested, but I’ve been meaning to pick up this book, and I imagine there are some templates about this sort of thing in there:

            http://www.amazon.com/dp/1413310567

            Good for you for pushing on!

          • galaxy_dove

            Cool thanks alot, I will check that book for sure.

            You are so correct : “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Sometimes when making art with friends the lines get blurred a bit. Trust can become an issue. I try to look at it as a learning experience, but it still stings whenever i hear that track :(

  • Brian Westley

    Good article; I would add that you should also try to document earlier versions of the same music, as that would help strengthen your claim that it originated with you.

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      You’re quite right. I’ve amended the post to include that. Thanks, Brian!

  • John Elke

    That’s a crazy story. I’m certain this is not an isolated case. Whoever this person was, it seems they have probably been doing this for a while to be so brash.

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Sadly so. I’ve met another artist who’s had his work stolen by this same party. I’ve added a list of the compilations Joseph Ti was featured on and the labels he was under just in case anyone else got hit by this.

  • Ryan

    Consider me a fan! For what it’s worth I also saw this on Reddit, I love your music, and I am buying your full set immediately following this comment.

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      That’s very kind of you, Ryan! I really appreciate that!

  • Tripp

    I’m glad to hear you got most of this cleared up! Also, your music is AWESOME, keep it comin’!

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Thanks so much, Tripp!

  • Dan Baugher

    Sounds like someone is a Robert Miles fan

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Way back when! I’d love to have an iconic sound like those downward pianos one day.

      • Dan Baugher

        I think you hit the right notes in Aeolus.

  • Pingback: This artist’s music was ripped off for profit and DMCA saves the day… for now | PandoDaily

  • aliensporebomb

    There’s another side of this story we’re not learning about: who is Joseph Ti? How did he get the balls to steal your music and put it up? Did he accrue any royalties prior to being discovered as a music thief? Another proof of your music being yours: the creation date on any files on your digital audio workstation software should suffice as prior art (though I could be wrong). As an independent musician myself I’ve heard of stories like this but this is proof it could happen to anyone. I was recently clued into an artist who sounded very much like my music but hadn’t actually duplicated anything as brazenly as this.

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      You’re right, and I’ve amended the post to address a few of those topics. For the rest:

      “How did he get the balls to steal your music and put it up?” – No idea, and sadly, it doesn’t look like I’m the only one. I think he thought the internet was so big, no one would notice. Nope.

      “Did he accrue any royalties prior to being discovered as a music thief?” – Unfortunately so. Not a crazy amount, and I am recovering part of them. The money’s okay, but knowing someone was parading my music around under another name? Ugh. Drove me bonkers. So grateful most of it’s over.

      I hope your situation ended well. Was it a stylistic similarity or was this person lifting songs from you?

  • Jukka Ikävalko

    Maybe you can turn this story for your advantage. Because I’m now listening Jeremy Lim and already favoriting new songs :)

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      With or without my input! Everyone’s been so supportive. This has been a crazy journey, but I’m so grateful the story’s been resonating with folks. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the music, Jukka! Thank you!

  • djTrailmixxx

    Get some BMI son! http://www.bmi.com/

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      On it!

  • Solange Soleil

    As a music lawyer in the US, I say this: While in the US, copyright also exists at the time of creation into tangible form, registration is what gives impact. You CAN register copyright with the US Copyright office, and it is a good idea, since Youtube and other things are in the US. Being registered before the infringement gives the possibility of statutory damages of $150,000 per song plus lawyer fees. So it is a huge deterrent and can lead to settlements. It costs $35 per work to register with http://www.copyright.gov — Sue Basko http://suebasko.blogspot.com

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Thanks so much, Sue! Having those numbers is really helpful. I appreciate it!

  • Taalen

    Sadly you still can’t do anything if it’s major labels and people like Timbaland that steal your work (like he did to Janne Suni. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbaland_plagiarism_controversy)

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      Whoa – never heard about that. Really not a fan of how Timbaland responded to the whole ordeal. Ugh, I feel ill just thinking about it.

  • Dov

    good job getting your tunes back this articles was well written and helpful, as someone who runs and works for labels I’ve encountered this sort of thing before, the worst case was actually a digital distributor that was perpetuating the fraud and claiming it was music submitted to them from elsewhere, oddly enough in very similar genres and compilations to the ones you mention. Keep up the good work

  • Kori L Carothers

    Thanks for posting this. Always good to know how to fight back. Keep fighting the good fight!

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      A pleasure! Thanks for reading!

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  • Thom

    Joseph Ti from Russia? Ukrainian? Sorry, but probably you’ll never find him there.

    • http://www.jeremylim.ca/ Jeremy Lim

      I know, right? It’s okay! We just have to keep moving!

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  • Katalinwordsandmusic

    I know how you feel and I still feel it. This has happened to me in a different way. I have a song which was previously released on vinyl and registered with PRS the uk collection society years ago, yet I accidentally found it on Youtube, exactly the same lyrics and melody but with a new production and a new title, released as a single and also on an album and the writing credits attributed to the highly respected well known international artist who recorded it. (He was my friend when he lived here in the uk for a while) As I had proof, it stopped PRS paying out the publishing royalties to him, the royalties are held in an interim account at PRS, that is all the registration did for me so far. Like you it’s not about the money, what hurts more then anything else is that I wrote this great song and not credited as the author. I have not given up on finding help and a solution…

  • Blythe Bast

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write all this out. Tonight, just a few hours ago, I was greeted with the same type if YouTube email saying that Kontor New Media owns a song that is mine and posted last December ’13 as a video; their stolen version of my track called “Mashout (extended version) by Cris Dom, likely an alias, was only released mid-April, a couple weeks ago. I am livid because not only did they steal from me, they muted my original video that is linked to several websites my video is on. And if anyone goes to it, it’s embarrassing as it says basically that I am at fault. This infuriates me so much and is overwhelming all at once. But I need to set this straight. I have been working for 4 years straight and about 15 hour days on average 6 days a week to properly learn how to produce electronic music…

  • Blythe Bast

    And I found my song on all major websites being sold to boot! Incredible. I am so bummed and so angry at the same time I wish I could right this immediately. I also wish I had more time now to deal with this but I’m so busy working (producing music professionally for artists) amongst all life has thrown at me right now I’m afraid I won’t literally have enough hours to deal with this jerk. Grrr….