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Is it risky to send original songs to your friends via e-mail?


seattleswiss

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Unless you are already a super famous songwriter in demand by super famous musicians, then -- yes -- you are being overly paranoid.

 

Copyright is automatic, but registering for copyright isn't. If you go to court, then you'll need to have registered for copyright in order to successfully defend any infringement. To register, you'll need to apply through your country's copyright office. In the US, go here ... http://www.copyright.gov/

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Stackabones -- do you know difficult a process it is to register a copyright?

 

 

It just got a lot easier, since they set up on-line registration. But it does cost some money for them to keep a copy of your song on file for the next 50 years or so.

 

If you're worried about it, send them a link to a website that's streaming your music.

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I'm not Stack, but the copyright process is not too bad. You can now do it online. That said it is not free. (How about an advertising supported US Copyright Office? Can I take out a patent on that? :D [With the clueless crop of bozos in the USPTO, the answer may sadly be yes. :rolleyes: ])

 

You can save money by collecting a (potentially large) group of songs together and copyrighting them as a collective work. But make sure you file an individual addendum listing each song individually or, I'm told, the CO cannot search on the individual titles in a collective work otherwise and that supposedly hurts your chances in court. Like you're going to court. Trust me, you can't afford to go to court (if you're like most of us).

 

 

Anyhow... with regard to folks stealing stuff...

 

In my long experience hearing musician horror stories -- and I've heard thousands -- I've only heard of a tiny handful of folks who've had their non-hit, unpublished songs appropriated. And that was almost always by folks in the songwriter's ex-band or former musical/writing partners.

 

OTOH, I've heard scores of folks who got screwed over on their songs/publishing by their own erstwhile publishers, managers, and agents -- to be sure. But in those cases, the crucial paper involved was typically in the form of contracts and legal agreements that the artist had signed or otherwise entered into with those entities (usually knowingly).

 

 

The thing with the generally unimaginative dorks who feel driven to steal songs is that they don't usually have enough imagination to steal an unknown song but often, instead, steal something that's already had some sort of success (maybe something on what they think is a lesser known older record).

 

But, you know, humans always proceed to amaze at the depths they can stoop to, so there's no saying for sure.

 

Me, I decided after watching for quite some time to not drive myself crazy. I hide my songs in plain sight. Or plain site, maybe. I post each new song on my blog, with the lyrics on the blog and the media file going to the Internet Archive. ( www.archive.org )

 

I mean, most folks -- and I mean 99.999+% -- make music that will almost certainly go almost entirely unheard. Why add to the likelihood?

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The Copyright Office says the process takes 9 months... does this mean the work is completely unprotected until approved? How likely is it that the Copyright Office will accept an application?

 

 

It's pretty much a sure thing that they accept it. And, as stated, you already have the copyright. You just need to register it. Unless someone wants your song bad enough to steal it and somehow expidite his/her claim with the Office, you'll be OK.

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9 months. That's freakin' hilarious. It took them something like a decade plus to get their online registration sort of working. Seriously, I remember in the late 90s they were saying it would be really soon now. I don't want to be uncharitable, but the phrase clueless losers surfaces in my mind.

 

 

Anyhow, I suspect the chance of the CO rejecting an application is close to nil. They take the money and file it away. The copyright app, I mean. The money just gets ground to nothing in the gears of bureaucracy.

 

If you get sued or want to sue someone, they then go through a no doubt laborious and interminable process of -- hopefully -- finding your registration of copyright and they send it to the court. Your adversaries will go through something similar. When you get to court, your lawyer will show the judge yours and the other guys' lawyer -- or team of high priced legal thugs if you're suing/being sued by a big label -- will show the judge theirs and the judge will look at the date of registration and then he will proceed to apply his no doubt limitless knowledge of musical and lyrical composition to the somewhat trickier task of seeing if there's significant infringement.

 

 

By the way, the only time anyone is likely to sue anyone is if there is a big hit involved. It's really expensive to pursue such a case from either side in cases where there really is an argument to be made.

 

 

My dutch uncle advice: worry about other stuff. Life is too short.

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Yah. A Dutch uncle is, in this usage, someone who gives you advice you don't want to hear.

 

And I'm thinking all of us secretly would like to think that folks are dying to steal our personal fire. I mean, after all, what I'm saying is, Sorry, kid, no one wants to steal your stuff. [EDIT: just to be clear, I don't think they want to steal my stuff or probably not even Stack's excellent work, either. ;) ]

 

But, of course, that is actually no slight, since it's my thought that those inclined to steal other people's compositions are lacking in imagination and discernment and will therefore only steal something they think has proven -- and likely demonstrated -- commercial appeal. It's my thinking that artistic merit has little to due with it.

 

 

 

[i picked the phrase Dutch uncle out of the Rogers & Hammerstein musical, Flower Drum Song, since it seemed odd for a Chinese guy to be talking about a Dutch uncle. I figured it meant something, but back then we didn't have these here interweb thingies to look something like that up and I went for years before I could confirm that my take on it was about right.]

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Mr. Blue2Blue ... young 17 ... know what I mean. ... below is from your post.

.

Me, I decided after watching for quite some time to not drive myself crazy. I hide my songs in plain sight. Or plain site, maybe. I post each new song on my blog, with the lyrics on the blog and the media file going to the Internet Archive. ( www.archive.org ) ...

.

First post for me here! ... by documenting in the blog-posting you have established a copy of the work (lyrics & music) in plain site on a specific date.

You have established copyright which would then only be open to a challenge if someone else was able to prove that you had access to 'sited' work earlier.

Is that the essence of your approach. ... I like that mindset because the "hype" disappears leaving the work by joyous creation. ... I'll leave the ontological dimensions of the date of creation to another thread. ... Thanks ... Phrase

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Good to have you on board, Phrase!

 

Yeah -- I definitely decided some time ago to put my sanity ahead of the fear that that some potential big hit was going to get stolen from me. First they'd have to steal the song and then they'd have to make it a big hit. Making a big hit is a lot harder -- and a bigger gamble -- in most ways than writing a good song. There are tens, probably hundreds of thousands of really good songs that will never be hits.

 

But don't get me wrong -- solid evidence of prior creation is not treated by Copyright courts as having the same weight as CO registration. (In the US, at any rate.)

 

Ditto for registration with other entities* -- they also do not carry the same weight as official USCO registration.

 

It's almost as though the copyright courts were in cahoots with the USCO to 'enforce' their intended monopoly on registration. :D

 

That wouldn't bug me so much if the USCO was a modern, efficiently run organization. Such an organization is not impossible -- even for government. But the USCO is, I should say, a bit of a disgrace.

 

 

Anyhow, that's my approach. It is not by a stretch the most cautious or necessarily even prudent course. But it is the one that I've adopted.

 

With regard to what I would do if I did come across a blatant infringment, let's just say this: I might not be in a position to throw a high priced team of lawyers at the situation and I might not have the 'official' stamp of the USCO -- but I will be in a position to focus some distinctly unwanted attention on the infringer and there is such a thing as bad publicity, no matter what the flacks tell you.

 

[*I should have noted above that I also avail myself of Internet Archive's integrated Creative Commons registration (it's a couple clicks extra).]

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blue2blue ...

I've been following the financial crisis in terms of being a mirror to the kind of society we live in. ... To me the market based ideology limits the interaction between individuals to Produce-Consume (exchange value). ... To me an ideology which would understand the USE value ...to a song ...for example would allow the individual to see their creation as a gift to share ( not to give away necessarily but not to hoard either until the big payday). ... What is the function of ART in society? ... In this context I posted the lyrics of a song to be ...on an economic blog with only the

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Yes. You are being paranoid. I know this sounds like I'm an arrogant jerk but: Nobody wants to steal your songs. NOBODY. Most likely you couldn't even give them away even if you wanted to. I'm not saying they're bad. That's just the way it is with original music.

 

 

The uncomfortably sad truth.

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I'll add the proviso that I've read in print magazines on a number of occasions: when doing a collective work copyright -- also file addenda for each 'sub-title' in the collective work to facilitate searches on those titles. I've read that enough times that I've come to suspect there may be something to it. IIRC, it's now $2 for ever sub-title registered under the collective work title.

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BTW - Takes about two months to get your copyright for a CD. I've done it for the last 3 CD's I've made.


And I still can't give them away. haha

Yup.

 

The long and short of my Dutch uncle advice, I'm afraid.

 

On the other hand, that does kind of set you free, if you think about it. ;)

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@Matximus - With all due respect, without having heard my songs at all, I'd encourage you to speak for yourself. It seems a bit presumptuous to me that simply because you have had difficulty merely giving your songs away that everyone else will, does it not? I realize I am a newbie here and may be stepping out of line, but that just seems unnecessarily harsh and a bit contrary to the overarching supportive ethos of the Harmony Central community.

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@Matximus - With all due respect, without having heard my songs at all, I'd encourage you to speak for yourself. It seems a bit presumptuous to me that simply because you have had difficulty merely giving your songs away that everyone else will, does it not? I realize I am a newbie here and may be stepping out of line, but that just seems unnecessarily harsh and a bit contrary to the overarching supportive ethos of the Harmony Central community.

 

 

It's like this. Are you making a lot of money off of your songs? I'd assume that you are not, that's the case with most/all of us. Chances are, no one else will be able to make any money off your songs, either. So no one wants to steal them. The real value of copyrights is when you get the major hit, and all the scumbags come out of the woodwork complaining that you lifted their copyrighted material.

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@Chicken Monkey - Okay, I understand where you're coming from, but I still don't really understand why it is presumed that you can't make money from your songs, or why simply because I may not be making money *now* that I never will be able to. I'm not trying to be a dick, I'm just honestly trying to understand why this is accepted as the status quo. I know many singer songwriters who perform locally and make some money, so I don't see how it's so impossible.

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@Matximus - With all due respect, without having heard my songs at all, I'd encourage you to speak for yourself. It seems a bit presumptuous to me that simply because you have had difficulty merely giving your songs away that everyone else will, does it not? I realize I am a newbie here and may be stepping out of line, but that just seems unnecessarily harsh and a bit contrary to the overarching supportive ethos of the Harmony Central community.

 

 

Listen, I prefaced it with saying I'm gonna sound like an arrogant jerk. But Yeah. What I said is harsh, and true. And I'm not just speaking for myself, as you'll see a bunch of others have seconded the gist of what I said (of course, they framed it less bluntly).

 

On the flip side it "seems a bit presumptous" to me that you think your music is so great it's worth stealing, you know what I'm saying?

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I don't, but I'd like to think that at some point, maybe they will be... But thanks for your reply; again, I'm not trying to pick a fight, just trying to understand why the idea of making some money is so unfathomable.

 

 

Because none of us have done it, despite collective decades of trying, and few of us even know anyone who's done it. It's less likely than bowling a perfect game, getting mistaken for a Sri Lankan crimelord, or accidentally rutting with a transvestite.

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