#1
My current band has the opportunity to possibly record for free at a very good professional studio, but before we do we need to get our material copyrighted before they will produce the album.

We want to know the best way to get this material copyrighted so every member has equal rights to the music, so it's not just a single person getting the rights.

Obviously we would be going through http://www.copyright.gov/ for this.

Also, should we copyright a sound recording, or should I write everything in sheet and copyright the written music, or both? Which would be better?

Thanks
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#2
isn't there a sticky about this? Maybe it's an column, check the columns because I remember reading this somewhere. Sometime last year......
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#3
you should just read the frequently asked questions on the copyright website
thin lizzy
#4
This. ^

Just to elaborate, though...

You need to commit your songs to a fixed media in order to establish copyright. That could mean pencil and paper, a ghetto blaster, or whatever. If you're going to write it out by hand, all you need is the lyrics and the melody, as the riffs and stuff are generally not considered part of the song for copyright purposes.

Now, there are two levels of rights here. You will copyright the song, and by the sounds of things, that will be done before you enter the studio. You have the rights to use those lyrics and that melody entirely at your will.

After you record the song and pay for it (because until you pay for it, the studio owns the recordings), you also own the recording. Sounds like splitting hairs, but watch how this works...

Let's say you want to put out a compilation album of a bunch of artists' material. You could pay the 'going rate' of about 8 cents per song per manufactured copy to license the songs you want to use. That is a mechanical license, and the money paid for that is a mechanical royalty. That allows you to use the SONG, though.... not the recording. You want to use Back in Black? You have to re-record Back in Black for that price. Lots of those compilations you see in Wal-Mart and such are like this. They are not by the original artists if you look carefully at the packaging.

You want to use AC/DC's actual recording as it appeared on the album? That requires a duplication licence and is a much more involved and costly process.

Here's something to think about before you ultimately decide to copyright the songs as a band:

1. If the band breaks up, who owns the songs? Well... all of you own them equally. Are you happy with the ramifications of that - especially if you are the *actual* songwriter?
2. If one person leaves the band, do you have a plan in place to buy him out, or are you happy letting him walk away with 25% of the rights of those songs?
3. If any of this material makes any money (airplay etc.), what happens to that money? Does it go in a band account or does each member get to keep his share? What if not everybody agrees to this?

Keep in mind that if the rights of the song are split, say, five ways, that any decisions made about the future of that material (those decisions that are relevant to the ownership of that material) require the consent of a controlling majority. That means that three of you need to agree.

So, for example, if the singer and the guitar player leave the band, and it was actually those two who wrote the song, they will still need the permission of the other three guys if they want to re-record the song. How does everyone still feel about it now?

I'm not for a second suggesting that your decision is wrong-headed. Lots of bands operate successfully (though a majority do not operate this way) with this method, and ultimately, the choice is yours. I'm just pointing out that you should be informed as to what that choice entails before you make it.

CT


CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#5
Stupid question but what's this "CT" business at the end of posts?
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Is.
Air.
Am?

Now though, I realise what i should have said - in the spirit of the dark; in the spirit of the staircase -
"Known some call is air am."
Which is to say-

"I am not what i used to be"
#6
My initials.



CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#7
^ It's a website.

You don't have to do some goddamn sign-off; if we wanted to know, we'd look at your username.

- JS

On topic, it should be music and lyrics.

Drums don't count.

For example, if you wrote the music and a friend who the lyrics, it's 50% each.

It doesn't matter, though; I'll use this story:

My producer, Tim, travelled the country for years touring and playing.
He had a 33.3% share in a huge pile of songs.
In the end? He made about $20 from them.

So, it's not that important, really.
#8
Quote by Josh Shiells

You don't have to do some goddamn sign-off; if we wanted to know, we'd look at your username..


I can't believe that you find something so innocuous so upsetting. Tell ya what... if I continue to receive the same dissatisfaction and anger towards my on-line habits, I will re-evaluate my behaviour.

Quote by Josh Shiells

My producer, Tim, travelled the country for years touring and playing.
He had a 33.3% share in a huge pile of songs.
In the end? He made about $20 from them.

So, it's not that important, really.


So this huge pile of songs made $60. At roughly $2.00 for ten seconds of TV play (not counting music video) and at roughly $0.05 per radio play (not counting campus radio), plus CD sales, that seems to suggest that they didn't get much in the way of media support and that they didn't sell much.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#9
Quote by Josh Shiells
^ It's a website.

You don't have to do some goddamn sign-off; if we wanted to know, we'd look at your username.

- JS

On topic, it should be music and lyrics.

Drums don't count.

For example, if you wrote the music and a friend who the lyrics, it's 50% each.

It doesn't matter, though; I'll use this story:

My producer, Tim, travelled the country for years touring and playing.
He had a 33.3% share in a huge pile of songs.
In the end? He made about $20 from them.

So, it's not that important, really.



you dont come around here often do you? chris is the one guy that has the answer to EVERY question so i do believe he is entitled to put anything he wants to at the end of his post
#10
Whats the whole thing with recording a cd of it then mailing it to yourself and not opening it, can someone explain that please?
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#11
^^^ it just proves that you played that song before anyone else because the post office will put a date on it. it holds up just as well as a copyright or so ive been told
#12
@dmiwshicldply - Thanks for the backup.

Quote by dmiwshicldply
^^^ it just proves that you played that song before anyone else because the post office will put a date on it.


Yes.

Quote by dmiwshicldply

it holds up just as well as a copyright or so ive been told


I know a guy who has had gold and platinum records who is now going independently who does it this way. His rationale is that, if someone wants to steal your material badly enough, they'll find a way. It may well come down to spending a ton of money in court against high-priced entertainment lawyers on retainer at a major label who can railroad their case through, and have you still lose and wind up paying in the end. Nothing - not even a formal copyright - is idiot proof once you involve a judge.

That said, this is generally considered a poor way to try to prove copyright. Envelopes can be tampered with. If reasonable doubt can be cast that you tampered with the envelope, you could well lose. Go ahead and try to prove you didn't tamper with it. Right...

Now you could take it one step further and get it notarized and kept on file with a lawyer. Being a disinterested third party, the odds of you (or someone you know) having access to that envelope and tampering with it is significantly reduced.

To draw an analogy, I guess you could compare it this way.... Lockiing your door keeps the honest people out. Even a steel door with a deadbolt and bars on the windows aren't idiot proof. This would be a 'proper' copyright.

Chances are, if you put a cheap lock on your front door, you'll probably be okay. (depending on the neighbourhood). This would be your registered letter method of copyright.

To take it one step further, most of us have probably left the house without locking the door at all and have come back home to find everything just fine.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#13
my biggest problem with people mailing cds to themselves is that given that cd-rs (assuming thats what people are using, which i assume is the case, since if you're getting them professionally pressed then there'll surely be some proof there automatically) have a pretty short lifespan, its not certain that the cd will actually still work when it comes time to prove your claim.
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