copyright question

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jason brann

copyright question

Post by jason brann » September 22nd, 2012, 8:21 am

what's the easiest and cheapest way to copyright a bunch of songs? i must have 50+ songs i've written over the years and i'd like to protect them.

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Re: copyright question

Post by dhodge » September 22nd, 2012, 8:39 am

You may want to check to make sure, but I believe you can copyright them all at once as a "volume of songs" (a songbook, if you will), using one form and paying one single copyright fee, just as you would for a single song. Many songwriters use this method, copyrighting their songs in batches in order to be a bit more cost efficient.

Hope this helps.

Peace

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Re: copyright question

Post by Hobson » September 22nd, 2012, 1:40 pm

I don't think that you can copyright all of them at once, but check the information on the U.S. copyright website:

http://www.copyright.gov/

You can register up to 10 songs at one time. The cost is $35 for whatever you register at the same time. It doesn't matter whether it's 1 song or 10.

It can all be done on-line. It's not too hard to set up an account. Once that is done, the registration and upload process takes some time, but it's reasonably straightforward.
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Re: copyright question

Post by NoteBoat » September 22nd, 2012, 1:58 pm

David's right - you can copyright them as a collection. You can only do this for unpublished works IF...

1. One person (or the same persons if a writing team) wrote all of the work. You can't copyright a collection if you wrote one, your brother wrote another, and you collaborated on the third*, and

2. Only one person (or team or entity) will own the copyrights to the whole thing.


*you can copyright a collection this way if it's being published - as in a compilation CD, etc.
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jason brann

Re: copyright question

Post by jason brann » September 22nd, 2012, 3:14 pm

i wrote them all myself, and have a bunch of lyrics without music as well. what's the process for copyrighting a collection? it seems like once a recording is made, it's copywritten, according to the "copyright basics" link, but that doesn't seem right. i've recorded many of them at home and posted them on the web. is the fact that there's a date corresponding to the recordings enough?

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Re: copyright question

Post by bkangel » September 22nd, 2012, 3:52 pm

A long time ago, when we wanted to copyright a play or novel, it would be printed out, mailed to our selves, and kept sealed, and that would be proof of authorship/copyright.

I'm wondering if a modern version of that would be to PDF the file and email it to yourself, and that would be timestamped and therefore proof of when it was written?

Just throwing the idea out there, no idea of the legals, plus would it vary from country to country?
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Re: copyright question

Post by Hobson » September 22nd, 2012, 4:12 pm

It definitely varies from country to country.

In the U.S., there is no such thing as a "poor man's copyright." You can not mail something to yourself as proof of copyright.

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-g ... ml#poorman

"The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man's copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration."

The author owns the copyright. However, if you want proof, you need to register the song, book, or whatever with the Copyright Office. If somebody used your work and you had not registered it, you might be able to prove authorship by having posted it on a website on a particular date that is prior to the other person claiming ownership.
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Re: copyright question

Post by bkangel » September 22nd, 2012, 4:19 pm

Expensive practice if you're prolific!

I'll have to look at Australian law more closely (not that I'm composing, but I am naturally curious :roll: )
What I lack in talent and natural ability, I will have to make up with stubborness.

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Re: copyright question

Post by jason brann » September 23rd, 2012, 5:18 pm

i'm in the united states, not australia, if there's any confusion about that.

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Re: copyright question

Post by notes_norton » September 24th, 2012, 7:12 am

Disclaimer: I'm not a copyright lawyer, and I don't even play one on TV, so I'm not qualified to give legal advice. So this just my layman's opinion.

But the way I understand it is:

In the USA, when you write a song, it is automatically copyrighted.

If it is not registered, and someone 'steals' your song, if you can prove you wrote it first, all you can do is get them to stop using it. If they made a million dollars with it, you cannot get any of the money.

If it is registered, you can sue for damages and collect money if you win.

I own a number of copyrights for my aftermarket user styles for Band-in-a-Box. I have found my styles posted on the web from time to time, and an e-mail asking them to take them down has always been sufficient.

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Re: copyright question

Post by s1120 » September 24th, 2012, 10:31 am

that is what I was told also. I have wrote a lot of poems, and was looking into this matter.. I havent done anything with it yet.... so dont know more then that
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Re: copyright question

Post by Cat » September 24th, 2012, 9:11 pm

dhodge wrote:You may want to check to make sure, but I believe you can copyright them all at once as a "volume of songs" (a songbook, if you will), using one form and paying one single copyright fee, just as you would for a single song. Many songwriters use this method, copyrighting their songs in batches in order to be a bit more cost efficient.

Hope this helps.

Peace
Very true. BUT...if you are selling songs, get them copywritten one-by-one.

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Re: copyright question

Post by Cat » September 24th, 2012, 9:14 pm

bkangel wrote:Expensive practice if you're prolific!

I'll have to look at Australian law more closely (not that I'm composing, but I am naturally curious :roll: )
I'm here in Oz. All my discography is in the USA. Australia is antiquated and open for argument in court: it's "first documented use" passing for copyright here. Save yourself grief and use the US Copyright Office.

Cat
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Re: copyright question

Post by Cat » September 24th, 2012, 9:17 pm

notes_norton wrote: If it is not registered, and someone 'steals' your song,
Then you go broke paying for lawyers. Copyright the freakin' thing! It's the cost of a couple packs of strings!

Cat
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Re: copyright question

Post by notes_norton » September 25th, 2012, 7:35 am

Cat is right. We may think of copyright as expensive, but when you think about it it's: less than a tank of gasoline ... less than a month's basic Cable TV subscription ... less that a dinner for two in a decent restaurant ... less than a ticket to a headliner concert ... and the copyright will last for the rest of your life +75 years in the USA, the others will be gone in a night or month at the most.

Plus if your music creation/performance is a business, the copyright fee is tax deductible.
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