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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Nebraska
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need advice on copyrighting my songs.

I know where to go and how to download the forms. I'm just confused as to exactly which form to use.

I've got about ten original rock songs that have lyrics and singing. All of them are recorded. I want to copyright all of them at once as a collective work, to save money, as long as all the songs can be protected.

does anyone know exactly which form I should use?

Thanks

Robbie
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 05:35 PM
EKG
 
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I heard an easy way is to make copies of them and mail them to yourself.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EKG
I heard an easy way is to make copies of them and mail them to yourself.
yea, i heard about that, but I'm not sure how that technically protects your songs.

I need to do it the legit way as i will be shopping these songs as demos.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 06:48 PM
7
 
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well the way that works is that the Gvt. puts and address on the songs that u mailed to urself and THAT proves that u had written that song before that date. its the easiest way....
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2003, 10:26 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
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In theory, you have copyright protection the moment you set your music in a fixed form. The sticky part is proving the date of that. That's what the mail to yourself thingy does. But at $3 per song (for a 10 song collection), just do it right. Here's the form:
http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formsri.pdf
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
 
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thanks jester!
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 10:35 PM
ns9
 
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Location: Portland, Or
Posts: 223
Hi! Copyright is a bit involved, in ways...
Simple mailing of material to oneself, or to one's attorney(s) will (not) hold up in a US court of law, depending on the opposing team's financial resources (after all, justice is paid for here, it isnt automatic). Also, international copyright is another to consider. Rather than try to explain any of this (been down this road before), links!

http://www.starpolish.com/advice/index.asp
more specifically:
http://www.starpolish.com/advice/article.asp?id=21
And... (slow loading, non-specific, but good info...
http://www.getsigned.com/musiclaw.html
Lawyer I worked with before, great guy...Ron Bienstock (for needs above DIY stuff...
http://www.musicesq.com
Some pretty straight forward info...
http://host.mpa.org/copyrigh.html
Some more decent info...
http://www.blue-n-gold.com/halfdan/resources.htm
Nice checklist article...
http://www.musicbizacademy.com/artic...lchecklist.htm
Another decent site...
http://www.reach.net/~scherer/p/copyrite.htm
And finally, leave it to a girl to make it all sound easy Two sites, first actually has a step-by-step...
http://www.bluesmusicassociation.org.../body.cfm?ID=7
http://www.lawgirl.com/

Whew! Nikki
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-24-2003, 04:59 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Superior Sound Services, South Wales
Posts: 229
Hi,

Once you write something it is copyrighted - there are no charges to pay and it doesn't have to be registered or filed or anything of the like. It is your property.

As people have mentioned the hard part is proving you did it before whoever. The easiest way is to put it in the public domian. mp3 sites are now pretty much the easiest way to do this. If you put them on an mp3 site, you will have the content (ie the song) and a date on which it was registered to an independant party.

The thing of posting a copy to yourself works too....though make sure is packaged up real tight, because the only time you are going to be opening it is in court and therefore it needs to be tamper proof....

Pete
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-24-2003, 03:19 PM
ns9
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Portland, Or
Posts: 223
Hi! Yeah, the internet and websites have helped in this regard quite a bit, as far as "common law copyright" is concerned. mp3.com, or even if you have your own site, once it is "public," it adds more to a "claim" if ever needed. For around $30, a legal copyright following the correct procedures is that extra bit that could make a court visit go in your favor. Picture heading into court with a $100/hour lawyer and facing some idiot that has a team of lawyers that some label is paying to defend them.

Another thing is this: Say you write a song, or group of songs. People close to you at the time later claim they helped with the writing of the song(s). One of them happens to have received an inheritence, and can afford to spend time in court. With the proper procedures followed, and proper paperwork filed, there is quite a bit less room for doubt, or interpretation.

Personally, what I do is create a cd of work. That cd will include songs that I wrote, no one else. Then, copyright the group of songs as a work. If I need to seperate them at a later date, it is legal to do so, and since I own the copyright on those songs in their entirety, I am legally allowed to split the songs from one another and release them (or perform, license, etc), since it is my OWN copyright on the original works. $30 for say 10 songs? WELL worth it. Cannot stress enough- in this day and age, it is just safer to use this relatively inexpensive way to fully and legally protect yourself and your work!

I spend some time each year reviewing stuff like this, looking for any changes, and trying to learn a bit more. Recently it was trademark law. Trademark law is a bit more complex, and something I would recommend involving a lawyer or a legal group that specializes in that. Plus, some of the links I put in last post have some pretty good info on recording contracts and some typical pitfalls and stuff to look out for. Beware tho- dig in deep enough, and you may never want to sign with a "major" label. Ever. Can take every ounce of fun out of music.
Nikki
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-27-2003, 01:37 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Liverpool, UK
Posts: 740
I never thought about emailing a file to myself to copyright it before , neat idea! , I'll give it a try when i record something worth copyrighting
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-27-2003, 03:09 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 4,215
I highly doubt emailing anything to yourself would stand up in court as proof of the date of creation. Message headers can easily be forged or modified.

Sending a CD to yourself via registered mail is an unreliable way of "registering" a copyright. It's the postal service's dated post-mark that counts as an "official" date record. Even if you specifically get them to stamp it over the seal of the envelope and you leave that package unopened after it arrives, it likely won't hold a lot of water.

Copyright on music is automatic as soon as you commit something to written or recorded form. You created it, you own it. If you're going to register a copyright to really protect it, you might as well do it the right way, and as already pointed out, it doesn't cost that much.
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