If you went through the public school system, you have been given that over- killed speech about plagiarism and the importance of academic integrity. It always boils down this: don't use other people's words or ideas. If you must, make sure you give them credit. Seems simple enough, but not everyone sticks to this rule. We have all seen those headlines on the blogs about an aspiring producer or rapper suing a big name artist for stealing their sh*t. While some of us write it off as an attempt for attention, the truth is swagger jacking is alive and well. HOT 97's own DJ Spynfo has been running his Mic Check Wednesdays showcase for years now and has become all too familiar with these situations. He offers all aspiring artists and producers this advice: "Make sure you get all of your legals done. Artists are always down with Get Money Inc or Pop Bottles Entertainment, but most of the time it isn't a real company. It's rare that they file the paperwork and make it legit" Joining a professional organization can carry a cost, but the recession is no excuse to leave yourself all the way out there. You can help protect yourself for the price of a postage stamp. Mailing a copy of something to yourself and leaving it unopened has been dubbed "the Poor Man's Copy write." The date stamp that the US Postal Service places on your package means that you created what ever you mailed by that date (at least). Of course this is merely a step you can take to better protect yourself and your work. If you feel like your music has been stolen, and you want to take action against the alleged perpetrator - call a lawyer and get all of your facts straight. Whether you win or lose or let the entire situation roll off your back entirely, DJ Spynfo offers some final words of wisdom on the subject: "Don't get too caught up in one song. Chances are if you made one hit record, you can make another... Learn from the situation and move on."
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