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How This CEO Is Streamlining The Copyright Process For Independent Artists

Jessica Sobhraj, cofounder and CEO of Cosynd, is on a mission to be the central hub that creators use to protect their work. The company designed a platform that automates copyright contracts and registrations for independent creators and businesses by working in conjunction with the U.S. Copyright Office. The company has simplified the process of documenting crucial ownership data and filing copyright registrations of all types of content – music, videos, imagery and literature.

Cosynd Copyright application
Jessica Sobhraj, cofounder and CEO of Cosynd, working on the next generation of the application that ... [+] MORGAN STANLEY & CO. LLC MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC
As the internet matures, it provides endless opportunities for artists to create and globally share their work. Along with the evolution also comes the gaps in policy and copyright infringement. For some artists, the process of licensing, copyrighting and agreement contracts can seem overwhelming. Sobhraj asked herself if there was a better way for artists to copyright their material so they would be protected. “I started looking at what artists were using currently,” she explains. “There were different split sheet apps that were available for your phone back then, but they were inefficient. I said, ‘alright, we can build something better for this community.’ I put together the very beginnings of a simple split sheet application.”

The company is now on its third rendition of the application, where it has added the ability for artists to register copyrights directly with the Copyright Office through its application with team members directly reviewing the applications before sending them out for approval. Just after they launched that feature, the Supreme Court mandated that you have to register a copyright with the Copyright Office before filing any lawsuit or have any legal standing at all; it can take up to seven months to file a copyright. The average cost of infringement litigation can cost upwards of $200,000.

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During their series of funding, the company landed an investment with Morgan Stanley. Through that experience, Sobhraj and her team were introduced to and NYCEDC (New York City Economic Development Corporation) who had recently formed WE Venture. The Fund is a $30 million public-private partnership to connect NYC-based women and minority-founded technology startup companies with the venture capital they need to develop and build their businesses. The City’s first Venture Capital Consortium was designed to support New York City-based tech startup companies founded by women and minority entrepreneurs. The Fund’s partners are Archer Gray, Future\Perfect Ventures, Golden Seeds Venture Fund, WOCstar Fund and the Multicultural Innovation Lab at Morgan Stanley.

Cosynd Copyright application
Alice Vilma, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley, and Jessica Sobhraj, cofounder and CEO of Cosynd, ... [+] MORGAN STANLEY & CO. LLC MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC

“The WE Venture program will invest in early-stage technology and technology-enabled companies across a diverse range of industries,” James Patchett, president and CEO of NYCEDC, states. “Through the program, we can continue to solidify New York City’s place as a prominent tech hub while creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow and thrive. We project that we will fully invest the $10 million [NYCEDC’s contribution] over the next five years.”

Cosynd secured the Fund’s first investment for $125,000. Sobhraj and her team will also have access to all the Fund’s partners and resources. “What better first investment by the Fund than a tool that makes legal protection simpler and more accessible to the creatives who make New York City the world’s cultural capital?” comments Faye Penn, Executive Director of “Artists of every kind are vital to our City – but too often they don’t protect their work against infringement, sometimes at a huge cost. Many creators don’t even know where to start.”

Before developing Cosynd, Sobhraj worked over a decade in music licensing. Her journey included running her own licensing firm where she put music into television and film and a stint at Rumblefish, which is a music licensing company specializing in all forms of synchronization licensing. “On an almost weekly basis,” she explains, “we would come into the issue of, ‘okay, we're about to do this deal. We have to find out who actually owns this music.’ A lot of the times when independent artists are filling out for services, like Rumblefish or any third party services, they're supposed to provide information about the ownership of the copyright. Sometimes that information is outdated; sometimes it just never gets in.”

Cosynd Copyright application
Jessica Sobhraj, coufound and CEO of Cosynd, headed into a meeting to discuss how best practices for ... [+] MORGAN STANLEY & CO. LLC MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC
Also, she served as a board member and president of Women in Music. “We took the organization from a small team of 10,” she shares, “to when I left, a team of 250-plus women were working around the world nonstop to provide housing, jobs, educational and economic opportunities to thousands of women across the globe. I learned so much in that process more so just around organizational IQ, and how do we grow a team to this massive behemoth and still keep everybody in line around the same culture and the same mission.”

As Sobhraj continues to transition and expand Cosynd, she focuses on these essential steps:

Surround yourself with the right mentors and advisors. Join organizations and associations within the focus of your pivot. Here you’ll meet the right people that will catapult your idea.
Develop a healthy mindset. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the weak. When you face rejection, you have to know who you are and what you’re capable of achieving.
Learn how to slow down. If you rush, you may make unnecessary mistakes that could have been avoided.
“There's so many times when you're just going to hear ‘no’ in your face,” Sobhraj concludes. “You're going to be rejected and you're going to be let down. You've got to build tough skin, especially to make it in the music industry or the creative industry in general. You've got to be able to take criticism and turn it into something positive.”