I have what may or may not be a dumb question:
If performing (or recording) a copyrighted song for profit costs 7 to 10 cents for each performance (or each copy of the CD or tape), why would restaurants be loath to sing "Happy Birthday" to guests celebrating their birthdays? For that matter, what's the big deal about using a few copyrighted songs on your demo and paying the royalties?
I do imagine, though, that if you are making only a handful of demo tapes, it could be a lot of red tape to deal with just to pay a couple of bucks in royalties.
MMario, you said:
"...commercial copyright violation involving more than 10 copies and value over $2500 was made a felony." Did you really mean "...and value over $2500," or did you mean to say ""...or value over..."? If it's as you wrote it, most of us performing a song a few dozen times or making a few dozen copies of a CD or tape would be safe, because the value would probably be under $2500. For that matter, it would mean that a giveaway demo or a songsheet run off just for fun would not involve copyright violation. I'm confused.
BTW, it's my understanding that if you write a song and print out a few copies to distribute at a song circle, complete with "© [your name and date]," that constitutes "publication" of the song. Am I wrong?
Also, of course, the copyright is yours from the time of creation, publication or none. The trick, of course, can be PROVING in court that you DID create the work, if you do not REGISTER the copyright.