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daddymack

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

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It is still run by the least efficient operation ever known to mankind....the U.S. Government...they will eventually figure out how to screw up the online process as well wink.gif

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Very nice thread. I've learned a lot from this.


I have a question regarding rock operas or musicals. Let's say a person writes and records 100% of a concept album in regards to lyrics, instruments, and vocals ---- But the "story" is based on a current novel.

What kind of deals have to be made from the creator of the novel (which storyline is used in a musical) in order to continue to registration of the copyright or if a publisher is interested?

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Intersting question. I would think you would need to work that out with the publisher and author, and typically you will need to state an attribution ('based on the novel by...'), but I don't know.

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If I just want to copyright, say, a stack of lyrics, is that possible? Like send in 10 songs (or more) of nothing but lyrics? I have an old ex-bandmate who may be trying to pull some shenanigans, and want to protect my old work.

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Well, I suppose you could register a copyright for them as poetry...but to actually be a 'song' typically requires that there would be some music involved... wink.gif

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Gigmaster- you seem like the REAL expert here , with real life knowledge of the subject and I thought your post deserved restating.
One question though, I assume you sold the rights to your songs that were stolen but you kept your name on them as the composer?

l

Quote Originally Posted by Gigmaster View Post
I don't know why there is so much confusion and wrong information out there on copyrighting. It's a relatively simple process, much easier than Income Tax forms.

First off, you need the right form. Don't use Form SR unless you are copyrighting the ACUTUAL recording itself, in other words the araingment, etc....

You need form PA to copyright the actual song (lyrics, melody). Just record as many as will fit on a CD/DVD, fill out the forms carefully (they are legal documents), and send them in with the recordings and a $35.00 money order, until after August 1, 2009, when the fees go up to $65.00. They will send you a confirmation in the mail. That's all there is to it.

Do not pay anyone for forms, or to copyright your music for you. The forms are free, and can be downloaded online from the Copyright Offices website. They also have extensive instructions and FAQs to help you, along with many other resources.

A copyright will not protect your song from being stolen, unless you have a lot of money to wage a decades long lawsuit. If a big publisher want's your song, they are going to get it. They have more money than you. I have had several stolen over the years, but I don't mind. I got lots of others. The copyright is just proof that you registered it on a certain date, if and when you ever get in front of a judge. In my cases, it was just easier to settle with them for a fee and be done with it. No lawyers, or court briefs. They got the song, and I got SOME money, as opposed to getting nothing by pursuing a lawsuit. For them, it was chump change just to make it go away. For me, it was paying off my mortgage, or car. I was OK with it.

But it is still better to have the copyrights, especially if you ever intend to have another company publish it. No legitimate publisher will touch your work unless it is copyrighted, in your name. Also, copyrights are assignable, and can be passed down to your children, grandchildren, etc...

BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, and Harry Fox are licensing agencies, which have nothing to do with copyrights. You can't register anything with them unless you already have it copyrighted. All registering with them does is allow them to collect royalties on your behalf, for the use of your work (which you will see little, if any of). I don't want to get started on this subject because it is a major sore-spot with me. I consider the entire royalty collection and distribution system crooked. It's nothing more than legalized, organized crime.

I believe the internet will save us all, as long as we keep the government and the alphabet soup-licensing agencies out of it (like RMA, etc...). It's the best thing to happen to creative artists since electronic keyboards....

Keep on giggin!!!

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Quote Originally Posted by Johnny-Boy View Post
If you want to officially copyright a song (music & lyrics) use this form: http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formpa.pdf

Yes, you can copyright the 11 songs as a compilation. For instance, list all 11 songs and then add "contained in" whatever title you're using for the CD.
Using the same form in the "Title" section?

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I have some huge questions about copyrighting as it pertains to past work and present/ex-members. Someone who doesn't mind doing this in PM, please contact me. (I'd rather keep this private from prying eyes.....Thanks!)

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Quote Originally Posted by Dominic2oh9 View Post
Using the same form in the "Title" section?
Yes, e.g., "Mystery Grooves" - songs contained in title: 1. Eerie Encounter, 2. Espionage, 3. etc....

Best, John

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This is a great thread. It's discussions like this that make me so glad TuneCore is in partnership with Harmony Central. Education, telling people how it all works and exploring the nuances: that's going to do more to protect artists than anything else.

Much of this has been covered here already, but just in case, we drafted some free booklets that go over, among other things, copyright and covers and (my favorite), How Not To Get Screwed: Six Legal Rights every artist should know about. Do please grab your .PDF copy:

http://www.tunecore.com/guides

Keep up the great work, HC and your users!

--Peter
peter@tunecore.com

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I have the lyics to 12 songs that I would like to eventually record. I am not a good enough player now to make the songs the way i hear them in my head. All I have is simple "cowboy" chords worked out to the lyics. Should and can I copyright just the lyrics now and then the music later?

I also have the name of the album and would like to copyright that as well. Does that have to be done seperately or can I do the album name and the lyrics contained within?

thanks

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Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman001

View Post

You're going to have to copyright both eventually anyways (lyrics and music).

 

agreed. Should I copyright the simple chord changes and lyrics and then the more intricate stuff later? And can I just write the chord changes in tab form or does it have to be played? It is not like I think my stuff is mind blowing but it is mine.

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The way that the crappy gov website is setup, you can only do lyrics on one, then performance(music) on the other. I haven't gotten to the music side yet.
Anyone else want to chime in here?

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Quote Originally Posted by TIMP3 View Post
I have the lyics to 12 songs that I would like to eventually record. I am not a good enough player now to make the songs the way i hear them in my head. All I have is simple "cowboy" chords worked out to the lyics. Should and can I copyright just the lyrics now and then the music later?

I also have the name of the album and would like to copyright that as well. Does that have to be done seperately or can I do the album name and the lyrics contained within?

thanks
Just submit the barebones of the songs with a simple accompaniment, there is no 'arrangement' requirement for a copyright...you are protecting the song, not the version you hear in your head. The final recorded version, if you really feel the need to spend money, can be filed under form SR (Sound Recording); this to my way of thinking is a total waste of time and money, but some people do it...wink.gif

You can't copyright the album titile nor the song titles.

You can also copyright the entire 'album' as a single 'collection', and save yourself a lot of filing fees.

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thank you. Now one more thing (sorry)- do I make the recordings, burn them to cd, and send that with a written copy of the lyrics? or just the cd?

thanks in advance and thanks for the "whole album" advice

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Just a properly labeled CD.
Remember you are dealing with the Federal Government Bureaucracy here, so don't confuse them by sending more than one item wink.gif

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If you've read this whole thread you may come to the conclusion that if by some huge coincidence somebody wrote a song just like yours (or stole your masterpiece) and you somehow found out about it you will need deep pockets full of tons of cash to sue or if you have a great case and a lawyer actually takes it on speck and you win you probably will see no $.

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All those possiblities discussed here would never happen if you would compose original music. Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of. And, it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. Insist upon yourself. Be original.

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Quote Originally Posted by A. Einstein View Post
All those possiblities discussed here would never happen if you would compose original music. Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of. And, it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. Insist upon yourself. Be original.
I'm not sure what your talking about but let's say your original song (from the CD you put out with Tunecore) is used buy somebody as background music in a low budget cable TV show or minor movie.
Chances are you'll never find out about it. There is a lot of media out there.

like I said
If you've read this whole thread you may come to the conclusion that if by some huge coincidence somebody wrote a song just like yours (or stole your masterpiece) and you somehow found out about it you will need deep pockets full of tons of cash to sue or if you have a great case and a lawyer actually takes it on speck and you win you probably will see no $.

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Quote Originally Posted by oldnewbie View Post
Should I copyright before or after mastering?
Quote Originally Posted by BlueStrat View Post
You mean should you register? Your work is already copyrighted the minute it's put on tape.
Before or after mastering makes no difference unless you are radically altering the recording in some way, since mastering doesn't change the content of the recording.
What if the final track list isn't defined yet prior to mastering? (aka the song order isn't 100% decided yet) Can I still register my copyright, or do I need to wait until there's a definitive sequence?

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Quote Originally Posted by Deadbeat Son

View Post

What if the final track list isn't defined yet prior to mastering? (aka the song order isn't 100% decided yet) Can I still register my copyright, or do I need to wait until there's a definitive sequence?

 

You are not registering the album, you are registering the songs. The order, arrangements, etc. mean nothing.

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