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How to check out a copyright

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Louie Roy 08 Oct 08 - 06:30 PM
Acme 08 Oct 08 - 06:38 PM
Louie Roy 08 Oct 08 - 06:48 PM
Rapparee 08 Oct 08 - 07:00 PM
john f weldon 08 Oct 08 - 07:12 PM
Louie Roy 08 Oct 08 - 07:33 PM
dwditty 08 Oct 08 - 07:42 PM
Riginslinger 08 Oct 08 - 07:55 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Oct 08 - 08:34 PM
dick greenhaus 08 Oct 08 - 09:44 PM
Rapparee 08 Oct 08 - 11:02 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 09 Oct 08 - 03:20 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Oct 08 - 03:39 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Oct 08 - 03:49 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Oct 08 - 03:53 AM
Joe Offer 09 Oct 08 - 05:22 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Oct 08 - 08:31 AM
Rapparee 09 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM
Riginslinger 09 Oct 08 - 09:02 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Oct 08 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 09 Oct 08 - 01:32 PM
Riginslinger 09 Oct 08 - 01:44 PM
Joe Offer 09 Oct 08 - 06:22 PM
Riginslinger 09 Oct 08 - 06:35 PM
Nigel Parsons 10 Oct 08 - 08:28 AM
dick greenhaus 10 Oct 08 - 02:17 PM
Riginslinger 10 Oct 08 - 06:49 PM
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Subject: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Louie Roy
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 06:30 PM

Does any of you mudcatters have an email address or a web page I can contact to look up a copyright. I realize this is not cheap but I'm more than willing to pay the price. Thanks in advance Louie Roy


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Acme
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 06:38 PM

We need more information.

What kind of material, to start?

Checking the various places where current works appear will give you copyright information for a lot of things. Pick up a book and see who copyrighted it and/or check with the publisher. Same with musical recordings, etc.

Are you trying to find if something old is out of copyright? Then be a little more discrete if you're trying to get copyright for yourself, because if it is truly out of CR then is could be up for grabs. Alerting a publisher in interest in something they've allowed to lapse may have them hastening to renew.

There are attorneys that take care of this for big publishing houses. A friend of mine worked for a company in New York City called Kendal and Kendal that at the time handled Marvel Comics. They nearly lost a huge character because no one noticed copyright was about to expire. It was a last ditch effort to get it filed in time. This was back in the early-1980s.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Louie Roy
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 06:48 PM

What I'm trying to find out in the 1930s I wrote a song and of course in that day and age if you had a dime you didn't spend it copyrighting a song. Over the years I've sang this song many times and many places and I know people have recorded it on their tape recorders now I'm wondering did they copyright it.That is what I'm looking for.( Is it copyrighted)


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 07:00 PM

That's a question for an intellectual property lawyer. I'll ask my wife -- she knows something about that sort of thing. There IS some protection, but you may be too late to assert ownership. I dunno...since it wasn't registered you couldn't check on it anyway.

Can you PROVE that you wrote it, way back when? That it's original material?


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: john f weldon
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 07:12 PM

what country?????


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Louie Roy
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 07:33 PM

Country (The Good OLD USA) Rapaire if someone else hasn'tcopyrighted it I'll take a shot and yes I can still prove I wrote it


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: dwditty
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 07:42 PM

in the US anway, most is handled through www.songfile.com Our old friends at Harry Fox.

dw


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Riginslinger
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 07:55 PM

I'd be temped just to publish the song some place, label it as having been copy righted in the year you originally wrote it, and renewed again using the current date, and claim ownership. That would make some other claimant having to prove you're wrong. At least that's common to find with books and short stories and things like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 08:34 PM

Library of Congress. Search by title. Online records - free. Old stuff I think a write-in search is 10 bucks. Used to be a long waiting list. But others' registration if any might not be conclusive against you ("fraud on the copyright office") in the USA and CERTAINLY would not be so in the UK and most other countries.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 09:44 PM

Claim it. That way, if you're challenged, someone else will have to start paying legal fees.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Rapparee
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 11:02 PM

Exactly. You can assert copyright over something you wrote at any time -- the burden of proof is on whoever challenges your authorship. Copyright assertion gives you some protection, but full copyright protection has to be obtained from the Library of Congress's Copyright Office.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 03:20 AM

After 25 years, it becomes 'public domain'.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 03:39 AM

For Fardles sage fugitive from sanity, if you know nothing, keep quiet about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 03:49 AM

This has been gone over here many times before.
If you wrote the song you already have copyright. You just haven't registered it anywhere.
If someone else has registered the copyright that does not mean that they have the copyright, as they had no right to claim it.
This is one recent thread on the subject, and contains a link to all the previous threads as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 03:53 AM

Rapaire:
Exactly. You can assert copyright over something you wrote at any time -- the burden of proof is on whoever challenges your authorship. Copyright assertion gives you some protection, but full copyright protection has to be obtained from the Library of Congress's Copyright Office.
I'm not sure that that is quite true. If someone else registers the copyright before the author has done so then I believe the burden of proof would be on the author as he is contesting the record.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 05:22 AM

Guest from Sanity said that "it" goes into the public domain in 25 years. I don't know of any country where that happens so soon. It used to be 75 years in the US, but it got extended another 50 or more years after the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act went into effect in 1998. The most recent works to enter public domain in the US, were published in 1923.
Or maybe I'm misunderstanding what "Sanity" is talking about. Perhaps an unregistered work goes into the public domain at an earlier date.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 08:31 AM

The only reference to 25 years that I know of is in UK law where copyright of words/music remain with the author/composer and his estate for 70 years from death.
However, publishers' copyright (on their layout) is for 25 years. This has little effect where you can't photocopy the music 'til after 70 years after the death of the composer. It does, however, mean that major publishing houses who publish older works will produce a new edition every 20 odd years.
As an example, our church library has oratorios published by Novello & Co. The early ones we have are in Buff covers. 1970s copies of the same music are in Blue covers, and the most recent are in Red.
It is illegal to photocopy the music in the red covers (which are the tidiest copies), but we can go back to the library and find a tidy copy in Blue or Buff covers & copy that as the copyright has expired!


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM

If you can prove you wrote it (in the US) it's yours. If someone else has copyrighted it and you can prove them wrong then the courts MAY even order damages -- but that's a slippery road because if the other party can show "reasonable care" in searching for the author, well....

Intellectual property only goes into public domain if its copyright has expired or the property has been "abandoned." And let's not get into the "fair use" conflict....


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Riginslinger
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 09:02 AM

With written material, like a book, it does go into public domain after a period of time, but I thought it was 27 years, though I'm not sure about that. But all one has to do is re-register the copyright to keep that from happening. The heirs of famous writers--like John Steinbeck, for instance--do it as a matter of course. It think in some cases, where there is no well defined estate, the publisher can keep the copyright current.

             It seems to me, however, that really famous material should go into public domain at some point in time--Charles Dickens comes to mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 11:11 AM

The 28 year US copyright period and the 28 year renewal period are ancient history. Jesus Wept!


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 01:32 PM

When I was getting some works copyrighted,a few years ago, that's what I was shown...but it may be different...which, of course, would delight me. I do believe, after a certain period, it should be 'renewed', however, I'm not sure exactly what that time period is.


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Subject: RE: BS: How to check out a copyright
From: Riginslinger
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 01:44 PM

"Jesus Wept!"


                  Why?


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Subject: How to check out a copyright
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 06:22 PM

Well, Riginslinger, I agree that there are some good reasons for extending a copyright. If I were Irving Berlin (1888-1989), I'd have a lot of very old, still marketable songs to my name. Under the previous 75-year rule, I would no longer have rights to many of the songs I wrote in my twenties, and I wouldn't be able to sell a coproration the rights to the songs I wrote in my thirties because there would be only ten years left before the songs went into the public domain. And I might want to leave my heirs the rights to the songs I wrote in my forties, but they wouldn't be worth much by the time I finally died.

The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 changed the expiration to 70 years after the author's death, with a different timetable for certain circumstances. That means that the works of Irving Berlin will come into public domain in 2059. Since Ira Gershwin died 17 August 1983, the works of George and Ira will be public in 2053. Cole Porter died in 1964, so his works go public in 2034, and I might even live to see that day.

But what about all the wonderful, unknown songs written by Joe Pumpernickel in the 1950's? They were never a commercial success and they aren't worth anything nowadays. They're treasured by a very small group of Pumpernickel fans who would love to post the songs on their website, but the songs are still protected by copyright - and nobody wants to publish them for money because too few people would be willing to pay for them. So, the wonderful songs of Joe Pumpernickel are lost because nobody can afford to publish them, and free publication is prohibited because the law protects all songs in order to preserve the commercial value of the works of Berlin and Gershwin and Porter.

Seems to me, there ought to be a provision for releasing unmarketable songs earlier. If I read the guidelines right, copyright renewal is automatic - why not require some action to renew a copyright, so that only the marketable works get extended protection? The way things are now, huge numbers of works are lost to protect the few that have real commercial value.

For more information, check guides at about.com and the U.S. Copyright Office.
There's an excellent guide to copyright and fair use at (of all places) Dallas Theological Seminary.
Also look at Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States at Cornell University.

I'm moving this thread to the music section, because it certainly pertains to music.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: How to check out a copyright
From: Riginslinger
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 06:35 PM

"So, the wonderful songs of Joe Pumpernickel are lost because nobody can afford to publish them, and free publication is prohibited because the law protects all songs in order to preserve the commercial value of the works of Berlin and Gershwin and Porter."


                      So why not just publish to Pumpernickel songs anyway? What could they do to you, and who would do it. Whatever happened, surely it would be better than losing the songs.


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Subject: RE: How to check out a copyright
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 10 Oct 08 - 08:28 AM

If Joe Pumpernickel wants his songs published but it won't make him (or the publishers) any money then he is entitled to authorise people to publish them wherever.
Okay, so he forgoes a little in royalties (doesn't sound as if he's losing much). Free publication is not prohibited, it is in the gift of the copyright holder!


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Subject: RE: How to check out a copyright
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Oct 08 - 02:17 PM

And Joe P. probably has assigned the rights to a publisher, who probably ain't givin' nuthin' away.


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Subject: RE: How to check out a copyright
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Oct 08 - 06:49 PM

The way I understood the scenario, we were to assume that Joe P. was dead, and that the copyright ran for a period of 70 years after his death, so nobody could do anything until the time ran.

                Maybe I misunderstood, but in that event, what would be the penalty of publishing the songs. Who would come after you, and what could they do.


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