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You copyright your music, right?


LANSTARR

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Hey LANSTARR,

 

You mean "register" the copyright, right? You have a copyright in the music the moment it's reduced to tangible form. Registering provides you with additional statutory remedies and a presumption that you are the original author of the work, but a copyright does not have to be registered to exist. :)

 

You can register a compilation containing multiple songs and you shouldn't have a problem submitting the compilation on multiple CD's. :)

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exactly right. One of the myriad ways i have heard of to do this is to send yourself a registered sealed package containing the copyrighted material.

 

What i would really say though, is that the forms are easy to fill out, available online, and the fee is negligible. So, just send in the CD's to the library of congress, here in DC.

 

There's really no reason not to, and if you have to fight for your copyright, like UFO did w/sugar hill and grandmaster, ll Cool J, wu tang clan, etc. etc. you will find that having all the proof and additional documentation will be very much worth ten times the fees necessary.

 

I mean, there are literally hundreds of artists (like UFO) and their record labels (like 99) that have been forced out of business just trying to enforce their rights.

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Originally posted by Phil

resonator...don't quote me, but i think the "send it to yourself" approach has now been disallowed as a method (if that is the right word!)

 

 

YES! Go look at the copyright office's website. They spell it out in plain English. The mail-it-to-yourself method holds no water at all.

 

The fee is something like $30 per registration. Rollerator is correct, of course: the copyright exists as soon as the work is created, which is somewhat of a paraphrase of the official wording. Essentially, once your wave file is saved, it's copyrighted. If you are registering a "work" which spans multiple CDs, includes posters, and is basically a massive pacakge, it still can be registered as one piece and all the art, words, and music would be under the same copyright (for a single fee). You can download the forms from the website and once you drop it in the mail, IIRC, it's considered registered. (The copyright registration could take up to year to get mailed to you, it usually does in my case [perhaps they don't like my work, though]).

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The date posted method will no longer be valid in the uk. A recent court case was lost using a similar method.

Sending a recorded delivery to a lawyer may still be an option, not sure?

 

Protecting your music is very difficult or very expensive, a band member knows much more than me on this subject and several pieces of my music are now covered, i will ask someone to post here tomorrow.

 

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it may, perhaps, be different in the UK as opposed to the US-and i am not saying i think it's the way to go AT ALL-but, i think, in reality, as soon as you have the music either written or recorded, and it is original, then you have a copyright. I think the sending it to yourself is just another means of providing some sort of proof of date or whatever.

 

Like i said, if someone were to question this, and they paid an attourney enough money, i am sure this might be pretty weak. I think registering it is simply the only real course of action that is realistic in any way.

 

Even then, lawyers, just like everyone else, are a group of people made up of good and bad. Unfortunately bad ones can really {censored} up your life and seem, in my experience, to be extraordinarily prevalent in that profession. So, a company, say, sugar hill, can hire a bunch to fight the enforcement until such time as they, say, can get another bunch of lawyers to provide the protection of bankruptcy and avoid paying anything to, say, UFO and 99 records.

 

So, what i would, quite honestly, advise to an independent musician/producer/writer/composer is to do the {censored}ing best you can to shore up your defenses against this sort of predatory business practice:

register the copyright with the US office

find a decent legal firm and find out if they will provide their services inexpensively for a small retainer paid over time

pursue publication to further document your claims (sell CDs, put up web sites, etc..)

 

that's my .02, and keep in mind taht even really big name greats like the neville brothers have been {censored}ed by morally corrupt publishers/artists and their legal teams.

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It's not very expensive to register the copyright in the United States and if anyone is serious about their music, they should waste no time in doing so. It's an investment, just like a synth or a hard drive, but it has the potential to save all your work if the time comes. There's really no excuse not to do it.

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Originally posted by heroesforghosts

I had a web design class last term, and was told that by putting a copyright symbol somewhere on the page,it was copyrighted. Not implying it is legally registered, but at least the copyright symbol lets others know that your work is yours. Is this accurate?

 

 

As roller mentioned, the work is copyrighted when it is recorded into a fixed and tangible form...with OR without copyright notice (The Berne convention solidified this internationally)

 

Adding circle C or a copyright notice just helps strengthen your claim as you are letting people know "hey, I claim this as my origianl work AND IT AIN'T PUBLIC DOMAIN"

 

Circle R is for REGISTERED works and can only be used if you registered the copyright

 

It's important to remember that, unlike patents, copyrights are NOT prosecuted (ie reviewed for validity)...So a copyright registration is NOT proof of originality, it is merely a dated CLAIM

 

 

 

THe "mail to youself" was never really effective..Why? The validity would rely on the physical integrity of the package, which can't effectively be verified.

As an exercise, try mailing an UNSEALED envelope toyourself...The PO will deliver and then you have an envelope with a postage date that you can put anything you want in there WHENEVER you want

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Originally posted by the_resonator

it may, perhaps, be different in the UK as opposed to the US-and i am not saying i think it's the way to go AT ALL-but, i think, in reality, as soon as you have the music either written or recorded, and it is original, then you have a copyright. I think the sending it to yourself is just another means of providing some sort of proof of date or whatever.


Like i said, if someone were to question this, and they paid an attourney enough money, i am sure this might be pretty weak. I think registering it is simply the only real course of action that is realistic in any way.


Even then, lawyers, just like everyone else, are a group of people made up of good and bad. Unfortunately bad ones can really {censored} up your life and seem, in my experience, to be extraordinarily prevalent in that profession. So, a company, say, sugar hill, can hire a bunch to fight the enforcement until such time as they, say, can get another bunch of lawyers to provide the protection of bankruptcy and avoid paying anything to, say, UFO and 99 records.


So, what i would, quite honestly, advise to an independent musician/producer/writer/composer is to do the {censored}ing best you can to shore up your defenses against this sort of predatory business practice:

register the copyright with the US office

find a decent legal firm and find out if they will provide their services inexpensively for a small retainer paid over time

pursue publication to further document your claims (sell CDs, put up web sites, etc..)


that's my .02, and keep in mind taht even really big name greats like the neville brothers have been {censored}ed by morally corrupt publishers/artists and their legal teams.

 

Great post and from many angles.

 

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It's all well and good to say that once you save the files you are the copyright holder... but what happens when you send those demo beats out to P Diddy and then hear something (or something damn close... say same obscure sample used or something) on the radio in a month. How on earth are you going to prove (without bankruptcy) that you created those concepts/files originally? Thus to me, I save it I own it exclusivly doesn't work.

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Originally posted by platinumtouch

It's all well and good to say that once you save the files you are the copyright holder... but what happens when you send those demo beats out to P Diddy and then hear something (or something damn close... say same obscure sample used or something) on the radio in a month. How on earth are you going to prove (without bankruptcy) that you created those concepts/files originally? Thus to me, I save it I own it exclusivly doesn't work.

 

 

That's merely a technical note (or point of fact) that once it's saved it's copyrighted. It's certainly not meant to be taken as a "save your file and your good to go" piece of advice. I don't think anyone here is saying otherwise. If someone were to send out demos, it's wise to have the copyright registered first. Sort of a common sense thing.

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This is an awesome thread.

Its not easy or cheap to protect your material in australia or the uk, i know this for sure.

 

We all know big artists get shaffted even if they have big lawyers.

The best thing to do is think of many simpler ways to have both dated printed sheet music ( software is available ) and copies of your music posted to close members of your family or lawyer.

Maybe post dated unopened and maybe even photos with you holding a newspaper or something?

Getting a small label deal and a good agent is good move but not always possible, butyou are covered in most cases if you can.

 

Be careful where you post your best music, or atleast sort something where you are showing smaller clips or lower mp3 quality to get that balance of showing music to as many people as possible but not giving away too much.

 

Its a very complicated subject.

 

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Originally posted by platinumtouch

It's all well and good to say that once you save the files you are the copyright holder... but what happens when you send those demo beats out to P Diddy and then hear something (or something damn close... say same obscure sample used or something) on the radio in a month. How on earth are you going to prove (without bankruptcy) that you created those concepts/files originally? Thus to me, I save it I own it exclusivly doesn't work.

 

 

This issues is exactly why many placee do not accept unsolicted material...to avoid claims of infringement against them.

It can be very expensive to DEFEND as well.

 

The proof is handled on a case-by-case basis (remember, even registering a copyright is not prosectution of originality)

 

The economics? well if you've got a decently strong case, perhaps you can find a lawyer to take the case on contingency or you may even be able to find one to do it pro bono (it is "the arts" afterall)

Youm may be able to settle without litigation

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Originally posted by the_resonator

There's really no reason not to, and if you have to fight for your copyright, like UFO did w/sugar hill and grandmaster, ll Cool J, wu tang clan, etc. etc. you will find that having all the proof and additional documentation will be very much worth ten times the fees necessary.

Sampling another's work doesn't really apply to copyrighting, at least in regards to copyrighting an original piece of music.

 

There's nothing wrong with being safe, especially considering how inexpensive it is to register a work (or group of works), but in this day and age, it may very well be unnecessary. The only time a discrepancy would arise is when someone releases a piece of music that directly rips you off. Honestly, how often does this happen? Even so, how difficult would it be to prove you wrote it first? You have the original files on the original computer, and they're all dated. You have the original sample CDs (and the knowledge as to where the samples came from). You have the original synths, guitars, drum machines... You can recreate the song from scratch in a court of law if necessary-- the offending party cannot.

 

Personally, I wouldn't worry about it so much.

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so is this $30 fee NOT per song? i'd always thought that each song is one 'piece' of music, and that a way of getting around this is to send your whole album and claim it's one extended 'piece'. maybe this is way off, but because of this i've thought that registering my 'songs' would be an outrageously expensive undertaking. also, there's the fact that i find the idea of someone ripping off my 'music' pretty unrealisic. i guess you never know...

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Originally posted by lank

so is this $30 fee NOT per song? i'd always thought that each song is one 'piece' of music, and that a way of getting around this is to send your whole album and claim it's one extended 'piece'. maybe this is way off, but because of this i've thought that registering my 'songs' would be an outrageously expensive undertaking. also, there's the fact that i find the idea of someone ripping off my 'music' pretty unrealisic. i guess you never know...

 

 

I believe you can combine an album or perhaps many albums as a volume and submit them for one small fee, though I have not done so myself.

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Originally posted by lank

so is this $30 fee NOT per song? i'd always thought that each song is one 'piece' of music, and that a way of getting around this is to send your whole album and claim it's one extended 'piece'. maybe this is way off, but because of this i've thought that registering my 'songs' would be an outrageously expensive undertaking. also, there's the fact that i find the idea of someone ripping off my 'music' pretty unrealisic. i guess you never know...

 

 

It can be many songs at once on the same one easy form, only $30 per form. Doesnt matter what it is really, you submit two copies of what you are registering, and the $30 form covers that submission. Repeat again later when you modify it, if you want the modifications copyrighted. Basically copyright is a registered date stamp by a uninvolved reputable third party.

 

All USA details at www.copyright.gov

 

I am not a lawyer, but keep in mind that the only purpose of copyright is about a future court fight. Or at least the threat of such future court fight, which can be very effective too.

 

The FAQ there says there that mailing an unopened copy to yourself has no basis in law. Forget that, you dont want to pay lawyers to argue about it. All things can be fought in court, but it gets mighty expensive, and if it is questionable, the deepest pocket wins. You dont want it to be questionable.

 

Anything you create does have automatic copyright, which is however only a very weak way to say you own your work. This verbal claim doesnt count for much in court, anyone can claim anything.

 

When others steal your work, your only recourse to collect damages is in court (for money they earned, money you lost, court costs and punitive). Its hard to say who actually wrote it, and they can afterall register their copyright on your work too, it only costs $30. In court, they show their evidence and you show yours, and only one can show the prior ownership.

 

In fact, registration of copyright is required to go to court, and it is to provide really good proof of your ownership date, and is simply how it is done. Registration provides evidence that is very hard to argue with, and it only costs $30. Without it, forget it.

 

With it, then your early dated ownership is not the question. The question then becomes if the copied work is the same as your registered work. If it gets to court, you're going to pay lawyers to argue about something, but if you win, you can also win costs (assuming they can pay). If you lose, it will be expensive. So you need very good evidence, and formal copyright registration is the absolute minimum required.

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Originally posted by Wade




It can be many songs at once on the same one easy form, only $30 per form. Doesnt matter what it is really, you submit two copies of what you are registering, and the $30 form covers that submission. Repeat again later when you modify it, if you want the modifications copyrighted. Basically copyright is a registered date stamp by a uninvolved reputable third party.


All USA details at
www.copyright.gov


I am not a lawyer, but keep in mind that the only purpose of copyright is about a future court fight. Or at least the threat of such future court fight, which can be very effective too.


The FAQ there says there that mailing an unopened copy to yourself has no basis in law. Forget that, you dont want to pay lawyers to argue about it. All things can be fought in court, but it gets mighty expensive, and if it is questionable, the deepest pocket wins. You dont want it to be questionable.


Anything you create does have automatic copyright, which is however only a very weak way to say you own your work. This verbal claim doesnt count for much in court, anyone can claim anything.


When others steal your work, your only recourse to collect damages is in court (for money they earned, money you lost, court costs and punitive). Its hard to say who actually wrote it, and they can afterall register their copyright on your work too, it only costs $30. In court, they show their evidence and you show yours, and only one can show the prior ownership.


In fact, registration of copyright is required to go to court, and it is to provide really good proof of your ownership date, and is simply how it is done. Registration provides evidence that is very hard to argue with, and it only costs $30. Without it, forget it.


With it, then your early dated ownership is not the question. The question then becomes if the copied work is the same as your registered work. If it gets to court, you're going to pay lawyers to argue about something, but if you win, you can also win costs (assuming they can pay). If you lose, it will be expensive. So you need very good evidence, and formal copyright registration is the absolute minimum required.

 

Someome sitting here with me said this post could almost be from a lawyer.

Great advice, everything covered.

 

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Originally posted by aeon

LANSTARR:


your questions and this thread are most ironic given your past comments and approach as it concerns software piracy!
;)

 

"Ironic" is a very polite way of putting it.

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