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Tech: How do you register song copyright?

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Suegorgeous 29 Aug 08 - 08:09 PM
olddude 29 Aug 08 - 08:24 PM
Janice in NJ 29 Aug 08 - 08:33 PM
olddude 29 Aug 08 - 08:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Aug 08 - 09:03 PM
Nerd 29 Aug 08 - 09:03 PM
Janice in NJ 29 Aug 08 - 09:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Aug 08 - 10:00 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 29 Aug 08 - 11:17 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Aug 08 - 11:44 PM
Jim Lad 29 Aug 08 - 11:58 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 29 Aug 08 - 11:58 PM
john f weldon 30 Aug 08 - 12:39 AM
Richard Bridge 30 Aug 08 - 06:42 AM
john f weldon 30 Aug 08 - 07:39 AM
Jim Lad 30 Aug 08 - 12:28 PM
Janice in NJ 30 Aug 08 - 01:55 PM
Suegorgeous 30 Aug 08 - 08:16 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 30 Aug 08 - 10:01 PM
Jim Lad 30 Aug 08 - 10:52 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Aug 08 - 09:02 AM
Richard Bridge 31 Aug 08 - 09:06 AM
john f weldon 31 Aug 08 - 10:39 AM
Janice in NJ 31 Aug 08 - 12:06 PM
Murray MacLeod 31 Aug 08 - 01:24 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Aug 08 - 05:46 PM
Murray MacLeod 31 Aug 08 - 06:54 PM
Suegorgeous 31 Aug 08 - 07:46 PM
Jim Lad 31 Aug 08 - 08:02 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Aug 08 - 08:16 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 31 Aug 08 - 09:58 PM
Jim Lad 31 Aug 08 - 11:18 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 31 Aug 08 - 11:36 PM
Jim Lad 01 Sep 08 - 02:03 AM
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Subject: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 08:09 PM

Can someone who knows about this please tell me how one registers one's own song for copyright? I seem to remember reading somewhere that you send an envelope to yourself? (or something!)

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: olddude
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 08:24 PM

copyright music


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 08:33 PM

If you live in the USA or are a citizen the USA it is very easy. Go to the US Copyright Office website (click here) and follow the directions. Essentially you have to fill out Form PA and send it in along with two copies of the song if published or one copy if unpublished, and a check for $45. The copies can be lead sheets, CDs, tapes, etc.

That's all there is to it. Forget about that letter to yourself. It's not how it's done these days.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: olddude
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 08:41 PM

By the way the letter to yourself does not and I repeat does not hold up in court ... the official copyright is the only way to go. Don't do what I did, that is register one song at a time. you can send a CD with several songs on it for the 45 dollars. I found that out later


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 09:03 PM

You could always say what country you live in; legal niceties vary in different parts of the world. Alternatively, consult the great many threads that people have started here over the years asking exactly the same question; and getting pretty much exactly the same answers.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Nerd
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 09:03 PM

Just to put in a caveat...the video linked to above is a bit out of date. The copyright office prefers you to use the eco system (it means "electronic copyright office" but also doesn't use paper forms and so is eco-friendly). It costs only 35 dollars for an eco application vs. 45 for paper forms.

You do what Janice in NJ suggested and go to the copyright website, where you'll see the "eco" button to take you into the system.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 09:15 PM

If you send in a collection of songs at once, be sure to list each song individually on Form PA as an alternate title of the collection. The Copyright Office will then index the collection under all the alternative titles as well as the primary name. Use a so-called continuation sheet (available on the website) if you need more space.

For example, here's a collection of six songs:

Title of work: My Secaucus Sweetie and Other Songs

Alternative titles:
My Secaucus Sweetie
Newark on My Mind
Down by Raritan Bay
Bergen County Dream
Meet Me in the Meadowlands
The Weehauken Stomp


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 10:00 PM

Must be a half-dozen recent threads on this, with U. S. copyright site (linked here again by Janice) and the UK site - or get the sites from google.
Forget the supposed shortcuts, they are inadequate and without validity in court.

Thread 51730 has the links and discussion- How to Copyright


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 11:17 PM

I believe from previous posts that Sue is in UK, not USA. Copyright is automatic under British common law. What you have to do is establish proof that it was your creation. There are many other threads on this subject.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 11:44 PM

Copyright also arises automatically under US law now that USA is a Berne member, but there are still advantages (eg statutory damages) to registering in the USA.

Sandy is correct to say that copyright arises automatically under UK law, but it's pursuant to statute, not common law.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 11:58 PM

So here's a thing.
I'm Scottish, living in Canada & have the SOCAN forms along with a registration number issued by them, sitting on my desk.
Point is that when I checked into copyright laws in Canada, it applied to Canadian Citizens including Canadian Citizens living abroad.
Should I even be dealing with SOCAN?


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 11:58 PM

Thanks Richard for the correction. I guess the same point would hold true here in Canada as well. Perhaps I should have said that automatic copyright is a derivative of common law.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: john f weldon
Date: 30 Aug 08 - 12:39 AM

SOCAN has nothing to do with copyright, technically speaking. Copyright (for Canadians) is automatic. Socan is a collection agency, which makes sure you get your royalties, and is connected with other similar agencies around the world. If someone in Lower Dystopia plays your song on the radio, and everyone fills in their forms correctly, you will, someday, get a nickle!

Registering with SOCAN could be used as evidence of copyright, in the same way that sending yourself a copy in the mail might be used. But (the last time I checked) no actual case has ever been decided on this basis.

(At least, that's what SOCAN said when I joined 20 yrs ago).

Any actual lawyers have an opinion here???


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Aug 08 - 06:42 AM

Yes, but I'm not qualified in Canadian or any US law.

It is by no means true that if "someone in Lower Dystopia plays your song on the radio, and everyone fills in their forms correctly, you will, someday, get a nickel". Most performing right collecting societies use a sampling regime - ie they only count what actually goes on on SOME broadcasts and then they sort of assume that the rest are similar. You can give them actual proof that theholder of a blanket licence broadcast your theme tune for a series at 3 am and they could not give a stuff.

To make matters worse, when a society in one jurisdiction accounts to its affiliated society in another, the same may happen again, and teh little fish lose out.

Finally, there are twsorts of reciprocal arrangement between collectiong societies. One goes "We'll collect the money for songs by your writers and give it to you if you do the same in reverse" - eg Englan collects money from songs by Japanese Authors, and gives it to the Japanese society the name of which I think is JASRAC.

THe other goes "We'll collect the money for songs by your writers, and keep it and distribute it amongst our writers, but you can do the same in reverse". In that example England keeps the money from Japanese songs that are hits here, and Japan keeps the money from English songs that are hits there.

Hmm, guess which deal England actually has with Japan?

Oh, and my apologies, I should have said "UK" not England, no offence intended.

And NB mechanical rights societies are not necessarily the same as performing rights societies.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: john f weldon
Date: 30 Aug 08 - 07:39 AM

Thanks, Richard. Sometimes it's useful to launch a less informed position to stimulate a more informed one! Nonetheless, I do, from time to time get some minuscule payments from distant foreign lands, through Socan. How this comes to be, I know not. My obscurity is only exceeded by my unknown-ness.

Does someone versed in this field suggest how one might protect one-self in cross-border situations? The case of "Rum & Coca-Cola" leaps to mind.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 30 Aug 08 - 12:28 PM

"Oh, and my apologies, I should have said "UK" not England, no offence intended."

Oh I noticed.
So what you're saying, pretty well, is that these societies are designed to help themselves & those who don't need it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 30 Aug 08 - 01:55 PM

The US Copyright Office website confirms that the author of a work owns the copyright by virtue of being the author, except in the case of a work for hire. In that case, the person or compnay that hired the author owns the copyright. However, the way one establishes copyright ownership is by registering a claim. No other way is as good for two very important reasons.

First, until you have registered your claim, no one is under any legal obligation to pay you a licensing fee or royalties.

Second, registering your claim is prima facie evidence that you are the legitimate copyright owner. If anyone wants to contest your claim, she or he has the burden of proof

Those are two darn good reasons to pony up the $45, or $35 if you do it on-line.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 30 Aug 08 - 08:16 PM

I'm in the UK.

So basically - I don't have to do anything to copyright my songs - only if my authorship gets challenged do I need to do anything?

Is that correct?

Sue


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 30 Aug 08 - 10:01 PM

You may have to prove possession of the work before anyone else can do so. That is where the letter trick comes into play. Send yourself a registered sealed letter with the work enclosed. This will be dated and recorded. Never open it or break the seal. If at some point in time your copyright is challenged the other party will have to prove possession of the work on an earlier date. The letter should only be opened at that time by an officer of the court.
There are several other threads here on this subject.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 30 Aug 08 - 10:52 PM

Well I've had this on my desk for about a year and have been waiting to finish this album before sending it.
I like the idea of putting everything you own on a CD and enclosing it.
They made no mention of money, by the way.
Maybe I should read those forms again.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 09:02 AM

"these societies are designed to help themselves & those who don't need it"

There is certainly a not inconsiderable body of opinion to that effect.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 09:06 AM

"until you have registered your claim, no one is under any legal obligation to pay you a licensing fee or royalties"
I don't think that 's right, even in the USA. An unathorised use would still be an infringment. However I think there are some restrictions on the damages that can be recovered in the case of "innocent infringment". In most cases publication with the typical US "copyright notice" would prevent an infringment being "innocent".


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: john f weldon
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 10:39 AM

Richard, Jim & others, especially Canucks...

Just because you may not get all you deserve doesn't mean you should be lax about those forms (like Socan). You do get something, and something's better than nothing. Not just dough, but it's probably the only way you'll find out that someone out there is playing your songs!

Then go online and check that everthing's spelled right...

In other words, do as I say, don't do as I do. (I'm VERY sloppy about this.)
cheers
JFW


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 12:06 PM

Richard Bridge wrote, "I don't think that 's right, even in the USA. An unathorised use would still be an infringment." Richard is technically correct.

However, unless and until you have registered your copyright with the US Copyright Office, it would be very difficult to impossible to collect any retroactive licensing fees, let alone damages. That's because the burden of proof would be on you to show that (1) you are the rightful copyright owner, and (2) the other party actually knew you were the copyright owner and either willfully or negligently infringed on your copyright. Registering your copyright takes care of both issues and shifts the burden of proof to the other party.

Registering your copyright is such a simple thing to do, and it costs as little as $35 and no more than $45 for an entire collection of songs. It provides prima facie proof that you are the rightful copyright owner, and it gives legally sufficient notice to the whole world. Furthermore, it's the standard practice in both the legal world and the music industry. I cannot see any good reason to do otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 01:24 PM

slight thread creep here, but since we have one of Britain's most eminent legal minds on the thread already, I might as well attempt to pick his brains.

would I be correct in thinking that it is perfectly permissible to make a videotape of yourself performing the work of another songwriter (without express permission) and post it up on YouTube, since there is no monetary consideration involved by so doing ?

could the owner of the copyright of the song get huffy and demand the removal of the video ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 05:46 PM

No, it is not permissible. It is an infringement twice over (maybe three times) (at least as far as UK copyright law is concerned).

First, the UK has no general "private use" exemption. So recording the work (ie a reproduction) is an infringment unless authorised.

Second, the posting on Youtube is a second reproduction although the nodes on the way there benefit from one of teh exemptions created by our masters in Brussels.

Third, it is arguable that the downloads and streams from Youtube are public performances.


Yes, the composer could probably get shitty, but if he is an MCPS/PRS member he may have given them exclusive rights so they would have to do it in stead of him.

PS - Flattery will get you everywhere... How come you know so much about me? Did you google me or something?


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 06:54 PM

Don't worry, Richard, your secret is safe with me ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 07:46 PM

Sandy - thanks!

When you say "work", do you mean the lyrics and music on paper? or do you mean a recording of the song? or both?

Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 08:02 PM

In all honesty, I just don't care.
Don't care if I don't get paid.
Don't care if someone else doesn't get paid.
Don't really care who sings whose.
Just as long as the credit goes to the right people.
Think it's called sharing or something like that.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 08:16 PM

The relevant work(s) are the musical work (ie tune) and literary work (ie lyrics).

The recording is either a sound recording or a film, and in either case made by (hypothetically) Murray.


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 09:58 PM

Sue said:"When you say "work", do you mean the lyrics and music on paper? or do you mean a recording of the song? or both?"
Either or both. It is just to show possession on a verifiable date. I suppose that both would be best if possible.
Richard, now that Murray has spilled the beans I hope that you are fighting to get that extradition treaty changed. Unlike Canada and the UK, I'm told that them Yanks send crooks to jail!


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 11:18 PM

Crooks?


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 11:36 PM

Crooks?
Slang for "bad guys".


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Subject: RE: Tech: How do you register song copyright?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 02:03 AM

For singing?
Naw!


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