Copyright Information

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Copyright Information

Post by admin » Mon Jan 12, 2004 10:54 am

Question:Do I need to copyright my material?Answer:Technically, a song is copyrighted at the moment you write it down or record it. However, you should always register your copyright with the Copyright Office so you can PROVE that the song is yours, and when you created it.Question:How do I copyright my songs?Answer:Contact the U.S. Copyright office at (202) 707-9100, or download the forms you will need to submit.Question:What are the chances my song will be stolen?Answer:Pretty damned slim. I've been in the business for thirty years, and I've never personally known anybody who really had a song stolen. I've met the occasional person who had a song that did bear resemblance to another song, but there was no connection between the two writers that would have permitted the theft.Question:Should I copyright my material before submitting to TAXI?Answer:Yes. You should copyright it before sending it to anybody. But, don't wait to for the registration confirmation to come back to you. The copyright office takes months (often 6 months or more!) to get the confirmation back to you. As long as you've sent the form(s) in, you're good to go.For More: http://www.taxi.com/faq/copyright/#q1

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Re: Copyright Information

Post by BuddyV » Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:00 am

This is somewhat of a concern to me but as long as I have my songs recorded on my digital workstation with a date stamp, I am covered. I looked at the fees for submitting songs for copyright and I say who can afford that?

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Re: Copyright Information

Post by DonaldM » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:02 pm

How do I copyright my songs?
Answer:
Contact the U.S. Copyright office at (202) 707-9100, or download the forms you will need to submit.
That doesn't seem quite right. I believe the question should be: "How do I register my copyright?" because under the U.S. Copyright law copyright is granted the second a creative work is put into any tangible form.

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Re: Copyright Information

Post by Casey H » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:17 pm

DonaldM wrote:
How do I copyright my songs?
Answer:
Contact the U.S. Copyright office at (202) 707-9100, or download the forms you will need to submit.
That doesn't seem quite right. I believe the question should be: "How do I register my copyright?" because under the U.S. Copyright law copyright is granted the second a creative work is put into any tangible form.
Technically you are correct. I think Michael was answering the commonly asked question about how to register your copyright & some people (even if technically wrong) use the term "copyright" when they mean "register a copyright".

As Michael said, works are RARELY stolen. However if you are going to go through the trouble of protecting yourself, do it right. In the U.S., that means file a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. No other method- the poor man's technique of mailing a sealed envelope to yourself, registering the work with a PRO (a totally separate thing), hosting the song on an internet site, using a supposed service that validates you did the work, etc, etc has been proven legally valid.

More later...

:) Casey

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Re: Copyright Information

Post by Casey H » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:36 am

A few more things...

First, there is no substitue for the advice of a music attorney and/or the U.S. Copyright office.

There are two forms you generally deal with for music copyright in the U.S.:

Form PA (Performing Arts)
Form SR (Sound Recording)

You can use Form PA to copyright music and lyrics. Form SR is for copyright of a sound recording- e.g. the master recording itself that you will be marketing.

You can copyright multiple songs on a single copyright form as a collection for only one fee. However, all the songs in a collection must have the exact same authors. If you wrote songs with different co-writers, you cannot copyright those as a collection.

An added bonus is you can copyright Music, Lyrics, and Sound Recording on an SR form and therefore do not have to file both a PA and SR if you are ready to copyright both the work and the recording. This situation is very common for those of us who write for film/TV. Obviously if all you have is a rough demo and are concerned about protection, you would use a PA form. Later on, if a recording was made that you want to copyright, you'd have to file an SR form later.

Again, for more information contact the U.S. Copyright Office.

:) Casey

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Re: Copyright Information

Post by rnrmachine » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:22 pm

WARNING: I am no Attorney, I read up on this years back and read it every so often. So long as nothing has changed since the last time I read it this is what I know...

As always the BEST thing to do is register with the copywrite office. Technically you have a copywrite the moment you put the song into a fixed format. BUT you can't go into court IF you are not registered and registering AFTER a lawsuit were to happen... it wouldn't look good. That is why everyone will tell you to register.

There is a way around the single fee's... make a compilation (collection) CD. You can then register all the songs with the same single fee. BUT once again IF one song in the collection was in debate/heading to court you would need to register that song on it's own but at least it was registered in the collection so better proof does exist.

In my personal opinion, I would say, most people have nothing to worry about. BUT there is always that chance that you could have a hit song and someone else takes it. It's the whole reason copywrites exits... because it has happened in the past and it will happen again. The odds are it will NOT happen to you or me but no one is going to tell you not to register because that would be bad advice.

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Re: Copyright Information

Post by Casey H » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:41 pm

rnrmachine wrote:There is a way around the single fee's... make a compilation (collection) CD. You can then register all the songs with the same single fee. BUT once again IF one song in the collection was in debate/heading to court you would need to register that song on it's own but at least it was registered in the collection so better proof does exist.
Only a qualified music attorney can truly answer this but to the best of MY knowledge, a song copyright registered in a collection is every bit as protected as one registered indivdually. Therefore in the event of a dispute, there would be no need to suddenly register the song in question individually.

Anyway... The thread has hopefully given some basic info (Thank you ML) but if we get too much into the finer details we're probably treading into dangerous ground as non-lawyers.

I hope everyone enjoyed or is enjoying their Turkey!

:D Casey

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Re: Copyright Information

Post by DonaldM » Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:48 am

Thanks for clarifications. I do find it a bit ironic that in today's electronic world where files are time stamped, or websites provide time stamp info for uploaded files, that those won't serve as "proof" of ownership in court. As usual the law is about 15 years behind the technology. Logically, there's no reason that a time stamped file couldn't serve to at least established a date of creation, especially if the time stamp comes from an independent hosting site.

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Re: Copyright Information

Post by rnrmachine » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:38 am

Casey,

I do agree 100% that the song is just as protected as if it was registered as a single. It does state right in the info for "Collections" that if you have to go to court to dispute one song out of the collection it must be registered, prior to the court date, as a single. Small drawback imho. So IF someone was to steal one song off your "collection" the fee would end up only costing the same as 2 singles.

That is why I like registering songs as collections. hehe

Rob

EDIT: in case anyone is interested in reading up on the latest info just go to http://www.copyright.gov/ It has all the info you could possibly need. I called them once about 5-6 years ago... maybe even longer and asked a bunch of questions. They were quite helpful BUT I had some questions that weren't answered in their FAQ and general info. If you call them and ask those "FAQ" questions I am sure you'll get a bit of an attitude. UNLESS of course you get a pleasant person that don't mind helping even though it's obvious you didn't read the FAQ's. HAHA
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Re: Copyright Information

Post by Casey H » Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:49 pm

Thanks Rob.... I learn something every day, especially around here! :D

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