To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
9 messages

How to Copyright ?

12 Jan 01 - 01:52 PM (#373429)
Subject: Copyright ?
From: Shamrock

My friend and I have composed a few tunes. Does anybody know how to go about copyrighting these ? Thanks.

12 Jan 01 - 01:55 PM (#373433)
Subject: RE: Copyright ?
From: Amergin

First, you should tell us where you are....but here is the link to the US Copyright Office

13 Jan 01 - 08:59 AM (#373895)
Subject: RE: Copyright ?
From: Suffet

If you and your friend wrote some tunes, then the two of you own the copyrights to those tunes, unless you composed the tunes as works "for hire." In that case, the copyrights belong to the person or persons who hired you. In the USA, the US Copyright Office does not issue copyrights in the sense that the US Patent Office issues patents. What the US Copyright Office does is register claims. Registering your claim may be a good idea depending upon your particular circumstances, but it is not the act which bestows the copyrights upon you. Authorship is!

--- Steve

14 Oct 10 - 07:46 PM (#3007259)
Subject: Why register your copyrights?
From: Genie

You're right that you own the copyright (in the US) from the time you create the work. It's proving it that can be difficult and costly (court fees, lawyers, etc.) should you ever have to prove that you created the work and when, if you don't register your copyright.

Some people ask why you should bother to register (protect) your copyright it it's a song (or other work) that you don't aim or expect to make any money from. One reason is that someone else may later claim the copyright on all or part of your work - e.g., the melody, parts of the lyric, etc. This can happen because they've heard your song or poem and deliberately 'stolen' it. It can happen because they saw or heard it and forgot where. Or it can happen purely by accident, when 2 or more people independently come up with the same or very similar melodies or lyrics.   But if someone else does register a copyright on the same or very similar tune or lyrics, you can be sued for copyright infringement for performing, publishing or recording your own work, if you can't prove that you created the work at an earlier date.

This sort of thing has happened fairly often with folk music, parody lyrics, etc.    Sometimes it's whoever officially registers the copyright who gets to claim exclusive rights to the song.

14 Oct 10 - 08:15 PM (#3007295)
Subject: RE: Copyright ?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Very difficult to prove that one created a work unless it is registered.

15 Oct 10 - 05:03 PM (#3008010)
Subject: RE: Copyright ?
From: Slag

Curious: How well does the age-old method of mailing the first copy or original to yourself using registered mail, with official postal time stamp, hold up in a legal dispute?

15 Oct 10 - 05:11 PM (#3008014)
Subject: RE: Copyright ?
From: GUEST,999

I don`t think it does, Slag.

In Canada, it`s very inexpensive. Copyright law doesn`t care who wrote the song--they`re only interested in who wrote it first. If you`re a Canuck, join SAC (Songwriters`Association of Canada). Send them the lyrics and a CD (any quality s`long as the words and melody are clear) and they store it after date stamping it. Ya need the proof in court they show up with the proof. Cost of joining is about $50, and the cost of copyrighting the CD is about $75. (Actually, in Canada you own the song when you write it--SAC stores the proof for you.

15 Oct 10 - 05:25 PM (#3008026)
Subject: RE: Copyright ?
From: Slag

Not that I'm in Canada but do they also assure international rights under the Canadian protections?

15 Oct 10 - 06:06 PM (#3008046)
Subject: RE: How to Copyright ?
From: Genie

In the US you own the "work" as soon as you create it too. But you might be called on to prove it, either if you try to make money from it or if someone else claims copyright to all or part of your "work" (e.g., a tune).   

There used to be a similar organization called "Song Bank" or something like that, which would do the same thing in the US, 999.   Still, if you've registered your copyright with the Library Of Congress and have the documentation thereof, you could probably avoid having to deal with courts.