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daddymack

Copyright 101...before you ask, or POST, please take a look!

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Quote Originally Posted by daddymack View Post
Any tangible version is copyright-able, and yes, before you try to shop it, get the copyright.
Quick distinction here - copyright exists (automatically) at the time of fixation.
What we are talking about here is REGISTRATION of a copyright claim.

It's not so much "get the copyright" as it is "register the copyright claim"

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Quote Originally Posted by slight-return View Post
Quick distinction here - copyright exists (automatically) at the time of fixation.
What we are talking about here is REGISTRATION of a copyright claim.

It's not so much "get the copyright" as it is "register the copyright claim"
Right. You don't need to register the copyright in order to be protected, but you do need to register it in order to bring a lawsuit, and you need to register it prior to the infringement or within 3 months after first publication of it in order be entitled to certain kinds of damages (statutory damages & attorneys' fees) in the event you do bring a lawsuit. Otherwise you'd have to prove actual harm.

There are other advantages too, like the registration is very good proof of your ownership of the work (i.e. proves you created it first, etc.)

You should register the work as soon as is practical in order to get maximum protection. But you can do it after you send out demos. You can do the "poor man's copyright" in the interim -- put a CD of the work in a sealed envelope and mail it to yourself. Leave it sealed, and the postmark is your evidence of the date of mailing. Not as good as registration, though, just a backup.

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Quote Originally Posted by Alex_SF View Post
You don't need to register the copyright in order to be protected, but you do need to register it in order to bring a lawsuit,
Quick amplification - that applies to works of US origin.


There are other advantages too, like the registration is very good proof of your ownership of the work (i.e. proves you created it first, etc.)
Technical note - what it shows is date of priority for a claim, not proof of originality.

Now if US registration happens within 5 years of publication, the registration acts as what's known as "prima facie" evidence of copyright validity , but that's not proof of originality, just of legal claim (prima facie evidence basically clears threshold of burden for the P, so that the D must then refute the evidence or lodge an affirmative defense -- but it IS refutable)

Copyright claims, unlike patents, are merely registered, not prosecuted (that's why the patent process is so much more arduous than copyright registration)


You can do the "poor man's copyright" in the interim -- put a CD of the work in a sealed envelope and mail it to yourself. Leave it sealed, and the postmark is your evidence of the date of mailing.
ya know to be quite honest, I can't think of any US caselaw (I think Canada and UK may actually have some, so heads up for those guys - check with your IP atty on that) that supports "poor mans" . One big problem is the CIA flaps and seals manual has been in publication for over 30 years -- you are better off having it witnessed (as it speaks to the work in question, not an envelope the work supposedly came in)



NOTE : the above comments are not intended to discourage anyone from copyright registration (quite the opposite), but are to clarify certain concepts (such as "copyright" as "the right of copy") which can easily get shorthanded (such as "copyright" for "register")

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You can do the "poor man's copyright" in the interim -- put a CD of the work in a sealed envelope and mail it to yourself. Leave it sealed, and the postmark is your evidence of the date of mailing.

 

Totally false. What's to stop anyone from mailing unsealed envelopes to themselves and then putting whatever they want in them after the fact?

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Another question I have 13 songs that i wrote and i am going to copyright

Should i copyright the lyrics and guitar riffs too like send it in , in a cd

or just the lyrics. Im still practicng the guitar riffs but they're done, its just its a fast tempo so i gota keep practing

What would you advice

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Quote Originally Posted by the_offspring View Post
Another question I have 13 songs that i wrote and i am going to copyright

Should i copyright the lyrics and guitar riffs too like send it in , in a cd

or just the lyrics. Im still practicng the guitar riffs but they're done, its just its a fast tempo so i gota keep practing

What would you advice
sned in what you have, your "best version", tempo isn't going to matter (are you able to just score it?)

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If it comes down to litigation, what can get argued that a particular "riff" is a 'melodic motif' (do the riffs appear repeatedly? this will strengthen the argument that it is a thematic element) substantial enough to bear copyright protection


Like in Brighton v Harrison (the George Harrison "My Sweet Lord" case) the infringement analysis pivoted on 3 motifs

OTOH, in Newton V diamond (The Beastie Boys case about underlying composition in a sample) the flute riff was considered de minimis (basically, "don't sweat the small stuff")

So it can get pretty interpretive during litigation and that's when sides butt heads

like Bluestrat mentions you can register composition and phonorecording (that actually gets a circle P instead of a circle C -- check out a CD you own and you'll probably see a circ P on it)

if your phonorecording isn't done and that's what you are trying to protect, finish it up (but if you are more worried about the composition turn that in)

One thing you can do is check out "lawyers for the arts" programs in your areas, doesn't sound like you'll need a full consultation but they often do little seminars fo peple to get them familiar with stuff and answer general questions...people just don' avail themselves of the help out there
I think that's one reason lawyers get a bad rep - they are like dentists, people wait til it's root canal time

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Quote Originally Posted by slight-return View Post
Quick distinction here - copyright exists (automatically) at the time of fixation.
What we are talking about here is REGISTRATION of a copyright claim.

It's not so much "get the copyright" as it is "register the copyright claim"
correct, the intent was to register ...thumb.gif

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Quote Originally Posted by josippesut View Post
I am in a copyright agency that immediately approves the songs... You have to wait for approval?
I think there may be a language barrier -- "approves" wouldn't be something that we would normally apply to copyright in USA.
Could you describe in more detail what you mean by "approve" in this context?

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Quote Originally Posted by josippesut View Post
I am in a copyright agency that immediately approves the songs... You have to wait for approval?
Not approval, but registration confirmation (in USA). However, the day the registration is submitted determines the date of registration.

I see you're from Croatia. One of my Creepy Christmas songs was licensed to a large newspaper there. I've tried to find out what they used the track for, but no answer from the newspaper.

Johncool.gif

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They way you guys talk, There are Men In Black out to steal music wherever they can find it.
What I want to know is; Has anybody had there song or recording actually stolen and if so how often does this happen and by whom?

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I found this conversation quite helpful and I think it will speed up the period of understanding for me when I do make it to the "filling out the forms part." Excellent information in here and top notch answers. Special kudos to slight-return, daddymack, BlueStrat, and Johnnny-Boy for detailed answers and examples.

I'd bet you would never have guessed that you would help school someone in copyrights at 6 am on a sunday morning.

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Quote Originally Posted by BlueStrat View Post
Totally false. What's to stop anyone from mailing unsealed envelopes to themselves and then putting whatever they want in them after the fact?
Comment on the 'poor-man's' copyright; sending a mailed copy of the music and lyrics to yourself ... You're right, you can use vapour or anything to open the seal and put anything you want in the envelope however using wax (I know it sounds stupid but like in the olden times when they used wax and pressed down on it with a crest or something where the envelope would open), and if you ever try to open it, it messes up the design and would show. Using that method, a self mailed envelope could be used as a proof of creating the work no problem which is what your trying to do by copyrighting it in the first place.

You want multiple 'proofs' of creating the music first so witnesses, a seal mailed envelope with that wax thing I'm talking about, registering it at some fancy office that asks you to pay them, whatever, the more proofs you have of creating something, the more protected you'll be.

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Sadly, there are a number of problems with trying to use a wax seal as proof

The wax seal method is primarily for exposing attempts by a third party at surreptitiously opening a seal (the second or first party making that determination). The "poor man's copyright" is a problem of validating that the first or second parties (the sender and receiver -- often one and the same) have not compromised the seal. If the sender, for instance, used a personal signet, that same sender could compromise the seal and use the same signet.
The signet would have to be something not under the control of an interested party (much like a notary embosser or seal)


The wax seal doesn't itself, contain date information one could use much the same process as mailing an envelope that is unsealed by other means - simply apply a wax seal at a later time.

running a wax seal through modern mail sorting equipment could distort the seal as it is (not so funny anecdote, Once worked for a SW company where we sent out a CD mailer, well turns out the envelope size we used got sent through sorters that would bend the envelopes...oh snap...literally, about 1000 CDs got trashed before we found out abt it)

There are also penetration techniques even for wax seals. The Harrison "CIA Flaps and Seals Manual" which has been avail since the 70s outlines a plaster cast method to repair compromised wax seals even without the original signet, though there could be other methods such as freezing and solvents for leaving the seal itself intact while breaking the adhesion with the envelope. There are also other flap penetration methods such as a corner "roll up" penetration for paper documents (you come in from the corner and roll the document up so the flap is never fully opened)

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If you have a decent recording wouldn't putting it up on a download site like iTunes ,emusic or Amiestreet do the job?
If you go through Tunecore and continue to pay every year you'll have a record of when you first went live.

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Is there any way to avoid having my name and address displayed in the public record for the copyright?

Based on my understanding, it's not possible but I've noticed a lot of famous bands don't have that info displayed, so perhaps there is a way around it?

I'm just not very comfortable having such personal information accessable through google to anyone.

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My band and I just "fired" our bass player. I want to copyright our most finished songs so he doesn't prevent us from using it. What is the right and fair way to do this?

Technically I created the particular song in question along with this guy, but I want to copyright it so that the band and I have the right to perform the song and beyond. He played some bass lines, I came up with the guitar chords over it. He came up with the first few lines of lyrics and melody in a tone def way. I completed the melody, added a chorus and changed most of the lyrics to suit my updated melody. I played guitar and sang the song, did most of the arranging, and all of the mixing and mastering. So technically this is a pure collaboration. What to do?

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Quote Originally Posted by NeverTheMachine View Post
My band and I just "fired" our bass player. I want to copyright our most finished songs so he doesn't prevent us from using it. What is the right and fair way to do this?

Technically I created the particular song in question along with this guy, but I want to copyright it so that the band and I have the right to perform the song and beyond. He played some bass lines, I came up with the guitar chords over it. He came up with the first few lines of lyrics and melody in a tone def way. I completed the melody, added a chorus and changed most of the lyrics to suit my updated melody. I played guitar and sang the song, did most of the arranging, and all of the mixing and mastering. So technically this is a pure collaboration. What to do?
I don't think the Beatles first drummer ever had a stake in any of their songs , some of which were probably written while he was still in the band BUT- If your bass player wrote some of the lyrics and/or contributed to the melody with those lyrics he should have a stake in the tune.
I see three solutions for you;
1) Take out his words and any melodic content he contributed. (Record both versions to prove his part was removed)
2) Pay him off.
3) Do nothing. If the song is a hit he can sue you or you can cut a deal at the time. Most likely the song won't make any money* so this seems the easiest thing to do.

* This is not a dis on your song it's just statistics.
Also Cheryl Crow recently said the recording industry has turned into the "Wild West" and nobody wants to pay for music anymore. She said she just wants people to listen to her latest CD and doesn't expect a lot in sales.

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Quote Originally Posted by Bobsax View Post
I don't think the Beatles first drummer ever had a stake in any of their songs , some of which were probably written while he was still in the band BUT- If your bass player wrote some of the lyrics and/or contributed to the melody with those lyrics he should have a stake in the tune.
I see three solutions for you;
1) Take out his words and any melodic content he contributed. (Record both versions to prove his part was removed)
2) Pay him off.
3) Do nothing. If the song is a hit he can sue you or you can cut a deal at the time. Most likely the song won't make any money* so this seems the easiest thing to do.

* This is not a dis on your song it's just statistics.
Also Cheryl Crow recently said the recording industry has turned into the "Wild West" and nobody wants to pay for music anymore. She said she just wants people to listen to her latest CD and doesn't expect a lot in sales.
I don't want him to not have a stake in the tune. I just don't want him to prevent the three of us from playing the song in whatever form we want, cause that wouldn't be fair.

On the copyright.gov site, you mention the authors of the sound recording, and then you choose who you want the rights reserved to. So what's the deal with this? Is it just on a first come first to get the complete rights to the song basis? What does it mean or what can it mean if him and I are both mentioned as authors and I am mentioned as copyright owner?

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Quote Originally Posted by NeverTheMachine View Post
I don't want him to not have a stake in the tune. I just don't want him to prevent the three of us from playing the song in whatever form we want, cause that wouldn't be fair.
In US there is "joint authorship doctrine" which allows each author (unless the authors agreed to a different assignment) an 'undivided interest' in the whole work (basically each author enjoys the ability to act as owner even without the consent of other authors except for entering into exclusive license -- as that would abridge the rights of the other authors)


On the copyright.gov site, you mention the authors of the sound recording, and then you choose who you want the rights reserved to. So what's the deal with this? Is it just on a first come first to get the complete rights to the song basis? What does it mean or what can it mean if him and I are both mentioned as authors and I am mentioned as copyright owner?


i'd suggest going back and reading the basics in the thread - copyright has already been established (at the time of fixation). Filing with the copyright office is merely registration, it acts as claim and evidence, not proof of ownership. NOT listing the other guy as having ownership interest if you have belief that he is author and haven't made assignment arrangements with him in order to cut him out would be a bad faith filing...I wouldn't suggest it

there's always checking with your state's "lawyers for the arts" program and getting a case-specific look at your situation.

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