Music publishing assets are subject to extensive legal protections under copyright law, both domestically and internationally, and are considered secure forms of intellectual property. The duration of these rights are long, typically 70 years after the death of the last living songwriter.

International Copyright is governed principally by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which requires its signatories to recognize the copyright of works of authors from the signatory countries in the same way it recognizes the copyright of its own nationals. Most countries offer copyright protection under this convention.