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Thread: New copright issue!

  1. #11
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    I've dealt with a lot of copyright and patent BS over the last few years and if you are pretty certain you have a homerun / honey get ready for the mansion and the yacht idea or product...then it might be worth the effort to go the "Official" copyright or patent process... Bottom line whether you do or don't the gold is in being able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the invention or creation is yours and you publicly claimed it as such on X date... When it gets down to going after somebody who has used your "thing" it is a completely new story with some evil bad news in the end... If you don't have the cash to go after them unless it is black and white that it is a win and they is a good amount of money to be made forgetaboutit..

    From the Distrokid website on copyright...

    Do I Need to Copyright My Music Before Uploading?
    Not necessarily.

    This is not legal advice, and we are not your lawyer. But... under the present copyright law, which became effective January 1, 1978, a work is automatically protected by copyright when it is created. A work is created when it is “fixed” or embodied in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. Neither registration in the Copyright Office nor publication is required for copyright protection under the law.

    There are, however, certain advantages to registration, including the establishment of a public record of the copyright claim. Copyright registration must generally be made before an infringement suit can be brought. Timely registration may also provide a broader range of remedies in an infringement suit.

  2. #12
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    So by e-mailing the tune to a few friends...Posting it on HR.com and facebook letting everyone know this is a song you wrote and own all rights therein to, you've established a "public record" of a copyright claim and a timeline of when you did with a ton of digital proof you did...

    If it gets picked up by someone or something big...then it will get officially copyrighted....with that digital proof it will kill any chance of anyone else being able to have a defensible claim to your work... least that's how I see it...


    Sorry for the rant but after the poo I've been through with the "gooberment machine" they pretty well disgusted me with their hands out at every corner approach and ...oops we're sorry...to basically get nothing 99% of us will really ever need.

  3. #13
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    Guys,

    Firstly I come from Australia so I don't fully (???) the USA system, but in the almost fifty years that I have been in the business (and along the way getting legal qualifications) I have always advised the following --- updated from cassette to USB stick.

    The following is going to be a bit long but will be fully documented.

    The main thing that I presume that you (or any songwriter) wants is to have the composition protected against others pinching it and claiming it to be theirs.

    What I would suggest and advise all those who I have recorded in the past, is to do the following.

    1. BEFORE YOU LET ANYONE (even the girlfriend/wife/parents/etc) HEAR THE SONG, do the following.

    2 undertake a recording of the song --- this does not have to be at all professional --- playing a guitar/piano and singing into a single mic is sufficient, but before you commence the playing/singing bit, speak into the microphone and record the following

    This is a recording of XXXXXXXXX (name of song) that I (xxxxxxx --- give your full name) have composed on XXXXXX (give the full date).

    Now without stopping the recording (so that any background noise is continuously flowing) start playing and singing the song.

    After recording the song burn a copy to CD/USB Stick or any other portable type medium and fully label this medium.

    3. Now (if not already done) write down the music (the more detailed the better --- but if unable to write notes then chords would do, but notes are better. Ensure that you clearly name the song, place your name and the date (suggest that you use the same date throughout)

    4. Now (if not already done) write down the words (preferably along with the music so that they appear in the correct position within the song). If writing the words separately, ensure that you clearly name the song, have you name clearly shown (suggest --- Composed By XXXXX) and state the date (see above).

    5. Once all this is done, place everything into an envelope, VERY fully seal the envelope (suggest sellotape or similar), then write your name and address as the recipient and on the back write the name of the song --- NOTE, ONLY ONE SONG PER ENVELOPE.

    6. Take the envelope to your local post office (or what ever it is called locally) and have the envelope sent REGISTERED mail (it will be sent to you as the addressee on the envelope). The post office should (if like Australia) write in a book, the registered mail docket number for the envelope, the date and time of posting.

    Eventually you will receive the envelope in the mail. Once you receive the envelope, file it away in a VERY safe place (just in case you ever need it for legal purposes), hopefully never to be opened.

    Once you have received the envelope ONLY THEN should you let anyone hear the song.

    Now this is not a full copyright of the song, you should now go through the standard practice (in your country) of applying to the copyright office and having the song registered in the normal manner.

    Let's say that sometime in the future, you hear your song played on (say) the radio and it is announced (or similar) that it is the latest composition by some artist (not you), then you could take that person to court.

    If going to court, before going, return to the post office and request that they give you a photocopy of the page of the registry book (or whatever they use) that shows when you posted the envelope to yourself.

    Now in court, hand the judge the still fully sealed envelope and the page from the post office and requerst that the judge open the envelope.

    The judge will now see that the song was composed by you, that it was composed on a particular date (why all dates should be the same !!!) and was posted by you to yourself on a particular date (even better if you had posted the envelope on the same day as you have written on everything within the envelope).

    As you have presented this information to the judge and as you did NOT let anyone hear the song until you had received the envelope in the mail, it will be virtually impossible for the other party to claim that they composed the song, because any date that they might have as the composed date will be after the date that you have used.

    NOW, the above is a protection, NOT a final copyright method, BUT it is going to be very difficult for any other party to prove that they wrote the song and more particularly, that you stole the song from them after they had composed it.

    I can state from experience that two artists that I recorded many years ago (I always told artists booking my studio to ensure that they had done the above before coming into the studio --- this was done to protect both the artist and more importantly ME should anything go wrong) had their song stolen and released by another artist/s some time later, with those artists claiming that they had composed the song. In court the judge thought otherwise and the guilty artists had to pay up quite a bit of money.

    Although long, I trust that the above helps somewhat.

    David

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSP View Post
    Now in court, hand the judge the still fully sealed envelope and the page from the post office and requerst that the judge open the envelope.
    The poor man's copyright doesn't work in the US. But it is my understanding that it is a valid method for proving ownership in the UK, and evidently, Australia.

  5. #15
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    Yo CSP...yep what we call the poor mans copyright here in the states...I disagree with Chili that it "doesn't work". The moment you create something and it is yours and novel...it is your property and it is protected by the current copyright laws.. the key in defending / proving that it is yours and yours alone in order to stop someone else from using it and making money off of it is what I'll call "proof of the pudding" "tap, tap, no tag backs" it's my baby and here's how I can prove I created this version on X date in time... A poor man copyright as you described is one way but comes with a lot of caveats and holes that can be punched in it...Aside from the fact that you have to keep a sealed envelope stored away that can be stolen or lost in a fire, or flood. The bad guys lawyers can say it has been faked and tie you up with expensive testing and costly lawyer time... So yeah a copyright at the U.S. Copyright office is the most solid way to protect your works because it sets a time and date that it was submitted and there is a public record of it...

    Thing is...we live in this digital world........ the copyright system was created long before the internet, e-mail and cloud storage existed. If e-mails, cloud and computer stored documents can be used as evidence to put you in jail they can also be used as proof of your creation.... You can't fake it...If I post a song on Distrokid, Itunes, soundclick, Soundcloud, Facebook or here at HR.com it's there for the world to see as long as those websites exist and actually long after they are gone...ever perused "The Way back machine"? Now me I am a HUGE Google fan and use Google everything including Google Drive...When I upload a song I have created, IMO it is just as protected as if I went through the hassle and expense of having the copyright office say it is mine...Don't need them IMO ....If I was a famous musician with a real chance of making serious money at this shit...maybe I'd go the "official route" .. If by chance one of my tunes (LOL a 63 year old singer song writer writes a hit tune in 2017) went viral or was used somewhere that merits royalties......I'm confident I can defend my ownership and prove when I created it all on my own...no poor man or U.S. copyright needed...I'm all googled up....

  6. #16
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    Well, disagree with me all you want, but the US copyright office says there is no basis in US law for the poor man's copyright. So when the judge goes to determine who owns the song, he's not going to open your envelope, he is going to see who registered the song with the copyright office first... you or the thief. Then he's going to determine how different the two versions are and whether they actually are the same song or not. This is where your millions in the bank pay off, ala Led Zepplin.

    To open another line of discussion... The only time I think there would ever be a copyright infringement with the home recording crowd is when the songwriter brings the song to his band and the band thinks they get songwriting credit for it. "Dude, I played on that track, I should get credit for writing my guitar riff."

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    Well, disagree with me all you want, but the US copyright office says there is no basis in US law for the poor man's copyright.
    I don't disagree with that statement, I disagree that a poormans copyright is useless.

    You can not sue someone in the U.S. without a copyright...this is a fact.

    How do you get a copyright? You prove you have a unique creation and that you created it on X date...It's ridiculous that the basis of saying a poormans copyright has no value is that there is no case law where it was used to win a copyright infringement...No Duh.....That's cause you can't sue unless you have a U.S. copyright...

    The devil is in the details...

    I have been involved in copyright litigation on the side of the infringer..( not in music but in another type of infringement ) I know what it takes to get a copyright and get a patent as I have been involved in both.

    So that all said...let's walk this through Joe mama steals my song and lyrics and copyrights it..I call Joe and say you low life mofo you stole my song...and he laughs and says tough luck sucker you snooze you lose..it's copyrighted under my name.....

    Well if it was only so easy...it isn't

    I contact the Copyright office and inform them that Joe's copyright is invalid because I wrote that damn song and I've got proof....I've been down this road and I know how it works...

    Remember "proof of the pudding"...I send the examiner at the copyright office via registered mail my poor mans copyright still sealed in a registered letter. These examiners are honest realistic folks and they pride themselves in making sure every copyright they issue is legit and worthy of being protected...If it is found after the fact it isn't it is invalidated...

    So I prove to them that the song indeed is my song and I deserve the protection not Frickin Joe Mama and I pay the fees necessary to do that...Now I can go sue Joe for all the dough he made selling my tune in court...

    Now I used the poorman's copyright as the example because that's what this topic turned to....but as I said earlier in this post I am not a fan of the mail yourself a registered letter...No, I say make digital copies ....e-mail the copy to your friends and families letting them know that this is your latest creation and hell e-mail one to the copyright office for that matter...after you do that upload them on the sites I mentioned with the same information thus digitally documenting you created this song on this date for perpetuity...I am not a lawyer but I am damn certain the copyright office or judge will accept that digital proof of the creation date...that's all you need is proof of the original creation release date. Any copyright can be invalidated with that proof and a copyright granted with the same

    The odds of most of us ever being in this situation is probably 1 in 100,000 or even more...why in the heck should we collectively contribute the the Copyright offices general fund to the tune of millions of dollars for such a miniscule chance we win the lotto...when based upon what I just explained with solid proof you can get your song copyrighted when the time comes to sue somebodys ass for stealing you song...

    I'm a practical cheap ass who watches his money closely... If what I say doesn't make you feel warm n fuzzy and you feel you really have half a rats ass chance that your song is worth the investment of time and money to get it "officially copyrighted" go for it...I'm not going there till (LOL) Joe Mama steals my song and starts making money off of it...


    Addendum:

    Thought I'd add this link from Wiki Everything you ever wanted to know about copyrights

    Something we all say with a grain of salt is that if you have a copyright you can sue the infringer.......Most of us have never sued anybody at this level..... This shit can get expensive quick 10's of thousands of dollars in lawyers fee quickly AND if you are unsuccessful the court can sometimes find you liable for the person you sued legal expenses......YIKES! It get serious and real ...real quick.... Big balls and deep pockets are a general prerequisite unless you're a lawyer yourself...
    Last edited by TAE; 08-20-2017 at 13:46.

  8. #18
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    Yes, latest reply from them is I need to send in 2 copies to the LoC. And they 'may have overlooked' the requirement on my previous releases.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

  9. #19
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    Under the 1976 Copyright Act, which became effective January 1, 1978, a work
    is automatically protected by copyright when it is created. A work is created
    when it is “fixed” in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. Neither registra-
    Copyright Registration for Sound Recordings nor publication is required for
    copyright protection under the present law.


    Heres what I generally use for my crap or son's or family/friends if they need help (though no one has for years since its easier online....kind of like Taxes are easier with the online-new IRS TAX software)

    I always did SR with a bunch of recordings under a album title all for the one price. Its a document with a date then.
    Have never had to go to court over any money...ahaha but its just something to do.

    Used to get a cool stamped LoC document, then it was a cheaper fax copy of the hardcopy in the mail, now its electronic nothing form with only confirmation numbers with the internet, but its kind of cool you can look up tunes online as they have the huge storage of Copyright stuff online.

    Im doing a album for a band this week, uploading and was just searching around to see if theres any new changes.

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbphotos View Post
    And I replied, that it has been released as a CD, but non-commercially.
    Hi JMB. That doesn't matter to them. They asked about the distribution platform, not your intentions to sell it.

    I replied back this evening that I was copyrighting the collected music works, not the published CD.
    That doesn't matter either. They are both copyrighted together in your case. In the US, unless you fixed form is printed sheet music only, the idea-expression dichotomy (which is the name for the 2 part intellectual property system) is not filed via separate submissions.

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