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How do I copyright a song

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Colin Stewart,, Ballygally, Ireland 09 Apr 99 - 03:56 PM
Sam Pirt 09 Apr 99 - 06:06 PM
DonMeixner 09 Apr 99 - 08:51 PM
U. Ben Had 09 Apr 99 - 11:38 PM
Frank of Toledo Oregon 10 Apr 99 - 12:33 AM
Frank of Toledo Oregon 10 Apr 99 - 12:33 AM
Frank of Toledo Oregon 10 Apr 99 - 12:33 AM
Sandy Paton 10 Apr 99 - 12:50 AM
Sandy Paton 10 Apr 99 - 01:04 AM
mountain tyme 10 Apr 99 - 01:34 AM
Sam Pirt 10 Apr 99 - 05:03 AM
RWilhelm 10 Apr 99 - 09:24 AM
Alice 10 Apr 99 - 10:09 AM
Alice 10 Apr 99 - 10:20 AM
Alice 10 Apr 99 - 10:23 AM
Big Mick 10 Apr 99 - 11:05 AM
tmtucker 10 Apr 99 - 11:51 AM
dick greenhaus 10 Apr 99 - 12:04 PM
Penny 10 Apr 99 - 01:26 PM
Mark Roffe 10 Apr 99 - 07:48 PM
Mark Roffe 10 Apr 99 - 08:13 PM
Alice 10 Apr 99 - 10:02 PM
Sandy Paton 10 Apr 99 - 10:18 PM
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Subject: How do I copyright a song
From: Colin Stewart,, Ballygally, Ireland
Date: 09 Apr 99 - 03:56 PM

I have recently been contacted by a famous Irish Folk group who details of one of my songs. Can anyone advise how to get it formally copyrighted and the cost of this. Mant thanks.


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Sam Pirt
Date: 09 Apr 99 - 06:06 PM

A good cheap way of copy writing a song is to seal it in and envelope and write on what song it is and send it your self. That way the post mark will identify the time you wrote it.

Bye, Sam


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: DonMeixner
Date: 09 Apr 99 - 08:51 PM

Colin,

Congatulations, A songwriters dream come true. In the U.S. the poormans copyright has been used for years, how successfully I don't know. My understanding is that Odetta may have come up with this plan. Actually I think oyu need to mail the song(s) registered with a postmark stamped on the song itself and a postmark over the glued edges of the flap. Keep it safe in a vault. Sandy will probably have an easier and saner way of doing this but then it probably costs moneyand we folkies barely can afford the stamps.

Ireland and Great Britain ( actually, I heard recently its just Pretty Good Britain now) may have laws that don't allow forsuch things. Call a legal aid society.

Don


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: U. Ben Had
Date: 09 Apr 99 - 11:38 PM

send the lyrics to me with a $20 bill (US)

c/o U. Ben Had COPYRIGHT CO.

PO BOX 7R11

Las Vegas, Nevada


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Frank of Toledo Oregon
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 12:33 AM

I'd like to hear from Sandy..............


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Frank of Toledo Oregon
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 12:33 AM

I'd like to hear from Sandy..............


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Frank of Toledo Oregon
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 12:33 AM

I'd like to hear from Sandy..............


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 12:50 AM

Gee whiz, guys, this ain't really my department. We've done the official thing with copyright forms obtained from the Copyright Office in Washington, written lead sheets, etc., but not lately, so I don't even know what it might cost now. I've always relied on someone else to handle that end of things. Shoot, if the business end of it were left up to me, we'd have given up the ghost years ago. I don't do any of that stuff!

Yesterday, "number one son" sent himself a registered letter containing lead sheets of several original tunes he has just recorded with his group ("All Hands Around"). We have a pretty small and friendly post office here in Sharon, so the gal stamped it, registered it, took his money, and delivered it to him all at the same time. We've been told that it's an acceptable way of establishing possession. I hope that's true.

Aren't there any lawyers among us?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 01:04 AM

A quick p.s.: Everybody welcome Frank of Toledo Oregon to the Mudcat ranks. Caroline and I have been talking with him lately and exchanging e-missives, so we knew he was ripe for our ranks. (Now mind your manners, Catspaw! No crude interpretations of that last sentence until he's had time to adjust to our style!) I know that Blessings Barbara has also been in touch with him (Down, Catspaw!) He's producing concerts out there and does a radio show, too. If you're near there, tune him in.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: mountain tyme
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 01:34 AM

The above mentioned send it to yourself by mail has been suggested as "the way to obtain some sort of protection" for decades. It is even suggested on some legal sites on the web as legal. It is not now and never was. There was a time a few years back when you could send printed copy or an audio tape of one to fifteen songs to the copyright office in DC with $15.00 and some paperwork in the form of copyright application. This is no longer accepted by the Copyright office. You must now retain a lawer who specializes in the proper procedure or you can purchase a "do it yourself" kit at a good misic store to get the application and explaination and then retain a lawyer. The costs charged by the copyright office have gone up and are now per song. I cannot say exactly what the deal is right now as I have been asking around an I have found no one who has made application since the rules have changed. Three of us are shortly going to purchase the kit mentioned above to see if it is up to date. This approach was suggested by a copyright lawyer we have used in the past. He has not been informed of the details of the recent transition to make application. I know this sounds simple and doesn't help but at least you know now you are not alone in your confusion. You can still do the regestered letter to yourself for peace of mind but if you become involved in an ownership battle the court never has and will not accept this method as proof and many folks like you and I have tried. When I learn more I will repost if needed.


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Sam Pirt
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 05:03 AM

Mountain Tyme

Do you know if that only applies in the U.S?

Bye Sam


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: RWilhelm
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 09:24 AM

I have heard the mail method called "common law copyright." While it could probably be used as evidence in court it is certainly not as strong a claim as registering with the government. In the US the any publication or recording is automatically protected by copyright and you should inidicate that on the document along with the date. In any dispute, the prior publication (I guess this would include mail) has the stronger claim. Government registration is the strongest evidence.

One thing to remember is that the government does not do any research on whether you are the author or not. They take the money, datestamp the form and file it. That records the date you offically asserted your claim of authorship. If someone else registered the same song the govenment would happily take his money and stamp his form too.

It is worth the money to register but if there is a dispute you could still end up in court. On the plus side, songs are seldom challenged unless they make a lot of money.


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Alice
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 10:09 AM

As much as ASCAP and BMI can be criticized, it is at least good to look at what the law requires so you know where you stand, and the BMI website has information on licensing and copyright at this page:

BMI licensing


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Alice
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 10:20 AM

I should have noted that on the BMI link I just posted, there is another link to their pages called "The Songwriter's Toolbox", where you can read about copyright law in the US, and use a copyright form to copyright your song in the US. The form is in PDF, so you need Acrobat.

To go directly to the government page:
Here is the page of the US copyright office procedures. There are several different ways to copyright music. Scroll down under performing arts, to music, lyrics, recordings. etc.
Copyright Registration Procedures

alice in montana


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Alice
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 10:23 AM

One more thing, there is a non-refundable filing fee of $20 for each registration.
Here are the guidelines:
registering music


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 11:05 AM

As always, you can count on Alice to cut through it all. Thanks Alice.

Mick


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: tmtucker
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 11:51 AM

I am curious. I would like to perform the song "Banks of Sicily". I don't know of the author and Barry Taylor told me that he couldn't put it on his midis because it is protected by copywrite for another 25 years. Can I do the song in public for money? Thanks


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 12:04 PM

Banks of Sicily was written by Hamish Henderson. It's been recorded, so there's a mechanical copyright on it: you don't need permission, but you must pay a fee. Check BMI and ASCAP web pages, and see if you can find who's administering the copyright.


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Penny
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 01:26 PM

According to the last thing I read on the subject with regard to the UK, it wasn't necessary to do anything to hold copyright on your work, unless you were a teacher. Whatever I write, wherever I write it, and whenever I write it, it belongs to Kent County Council, unless a prior arrangement has been made to the contrary. So every contribution I've made here.....


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 07:48 PM

Alice, we need to find a newer update than the 1993 one you posted. Around three years ago when someone was stealing one of my songs, and I was racing to try and stop it from happening, I sent a recording and the proper paperwork and $20 to the Copyright Office. Waited about 2 months, and got a letter back from them saying the fee had gone up (I think they said it was $25) and that no action would be taken on my copyright request until they received the proper amount. Arrgh.


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 08:13 PM

Alice - correction: Ginny tells me that the fee had gone UP to $20 when the Copyright Office sent me that letter. So the doc you posted is probably right. (The three signs of old age - #1 is a loss of memory...and I've forgotten the other 2)


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Alice
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 10:02 PM

aaaarrrgh.... yes, it went up for copyrighting graphics and art, too.


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Subject: RE: How do I copyright a song
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 10:18 PM

Seems that when we elect a bunch of lawyers to write our laws, they manage to figure out a way to assure their peers of plenty of work. Maybe we ought to try electing a bunch of folksingers next time around!

Sandy


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