Page 2 of 4
#41
I have a question. You know the trick for copy writing your music by mailing it to yourself and not opening the envelope? How do you get Canada Post to record the date that it was mailed?


There's normally a postmark or similar with the date that it reaches the sorting office.

This method is highly dubious, however, and not really the best idea if you've got something you actually value.
#42
Quote by NearDissent
I have a question. You know the trick for copy writing your music by mailing it to yourself and not opening the envelope? How do you get Canada Post to record the date that it was mailed?


Did you read post#14 in this thread?

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=18342719&postcount=14

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.
#43
If I change my lyrics a bit, like AABBCCDD becomes AABBCC the DD, would I have to mail it to myself again?
#44
I would guess that to be a tough call. Let's say for instance, you wrote Old Time Rock and Roll. The original lyric was "just take them old records off of the shelf" and you changed it to "just take those old records off the shelf" and the rest of the song followed just as before, it would hardly be considered a significant variation of the original work.

However, if you changed it to "just pull them old songs out of a hat" then that's starting to get significant - particularly if the melody is then changed too. If the melody remains fundamentally identical, then you're still in almost the same ballpark you were before.

I think it would come down to similarity in rhythm, context, message, and syntax. If it is *essentially* the same, then I would think it would be seen as a clear attempt to copy the original.

Now, if you're going the 'mail it to yourself' route, despite the caveats, it really doesn't cost you much more than an envelope and a few minutes of your time to re-submit it.

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.
Last edited by axemanchris at May 22, 2009,
#46
Hey everyone

First off, great stuff axemanchris! Super useful...

Anyway, I have a copyright question and I'm not sure if it's been covered much in this thread yet. Say you're in a band and you write most of the songs... then, 5 years after your band breaks up, the former vocalist records a song that you wrote - with the same instrumental parts. I know copyrights can get confusing in the band environment... so what should you do to get your copyright? Can you just use any of the methods mentioned above with everything you wrote?
#47
So you have two issues here...

1. Someone has infringed your copyrighted work
2. You need to prove that the copyrighted work is yours.

If you did, indeed, write more than 50% of the words and melodic content, then the song is enough yours that you have creative control over it. He can't record it without your permission or at least without paying licensing.

Legalities aside, most people, when confronted, will cease and desist just to be peaceful if they know they are in the wrong. If that's the case, then you're good. Otherwise, he might force you into proving it. Can you? What do you have?

Now, assuming you can prove it.... sign up with a music licencing agency (see above.... way up.... like the CMRRA, etc.) Register your songs there, and direct him to the music licencing agency. He can send his fees to them, or directly to you. Either one is fine with you.

If he refuses, then it comes down to, "How much money do you want to spend for how much gain?" Sure, if you take it to court and win, then you can recoup your fees as part of the settlement. So, it also comes down to him, "How much does he want to spend for how much gain?" If you lose, he'll recoup his legal fees as part of his settlement.

In any case, if you decide to take legal action and have sufficient proof to justify spending money on it, the first step will probably be a letter from your lawyer directly to him asking him to cease and desist or else face court action.

That's kinda the short answer.

It kinda sucks that it can potentially cost SO much to protect what is yours.... and that there are no guarantees.

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.
#48
Thanks! Just wanted to have an idea of what I should do... I'm working on some of my band's first originals and I'm doing pretty much 100% of the writing, and we're all in highschool so there's no guarantee we'll ever play together after highschool... so I wanted to make sure my stuff is protected.
#50
They won't be officially copyrighted, but you will have a piece of that 'disinterested third party' paper trail that I talked about.

Now, even with a formal copyright, you're still never really 'safe.' If someone decides to infringe on your material, you *will* have to step in and take action. And again, at that point, it will always come down to what I said above, "How much time and money are you willing to invest for how much gain?" And again, part of your success in winning won't so much lie in a formal copyright as much as it will lie in your ability to prove you owned the material before the other person.

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.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jul 3, 2009,
#51
Chris (or anyone), are you familiar with the online copyright system of the US?

It is on copyright.gov
#52
No, I'm not. I can't help thinking that it must be at least an attempt at making the formal copyright process more accessible and efficient for more people, while allowing them to reduce the number of people they employ collecting paperwork. I'm sure it must be totally legit.

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.
#53
i know this is probably an stupid/obvious question, but if i have an album on vinyl am i allowed to download it from the net using pirate bay or somewhere similar, for my own personal use? is there a limit to the number of copies i can have e.g. one vinyl, a tape for my car, on my computer and on my ipod is 4 copies already.

what about if i have lost the CD but still have the case? the Cd is in my house 'somewhere' but i can only produce the empty case...
finally what happens if a buy a CD - put it on my ipod, lend it to a friend and never get it back? what if i put it on my ipod then sell the CD/donate it to a charity shop?
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
#54
The "home taping act" or whatever it is formally called (and Canada has an equivalent) allows for making an archive copy as a backup or for a transition to another medium. This law came about when people wanted to copy their LPs to cassette to listen to them in the car, for instance.


Yes, you are allowed to do that. Now, technically, getting something from Pirate Bay is not legal. You are not making a copy for yourself - you are taking a copy from someone else. Ethically, so long as you bought a copy, whether you make the copy yourself for your own personal purposes, or whether you get it from a torrent, the end result is really the same.

In effect, to answer all your other questions, the guiding principle comes down to, "is someone else who *didn't* purchase a copy getting one for free?" If you lost it.... meh.... I don't think anyone is going to quiz you on it. If you gave it away or sold it at a garage sale, then you gave it away or sold it.... you relinquished your copy on your own free will so someone else could have it.

Ultimately, IMHO, it should come down to whether you are ethically doing the right thing (as in, the artist is getting the money that they are entitled to in return for their creativity and hard work), not whether you could be charged for illegal activity.

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.
#55
Wassup Chris. Hopefully you can clear this up for me.

I have a song on my profile "Never Get the Chance". This was written by the founder of the band, whom had written the chord progression and lyrics to it before presenting it to me. I arranged it so it had more dynamics (previously it had none, just the chord progression), and wrote the guitar riff to it which repeats throughout the song and the repeated solo.

Although the guitar riff is now a main feature of the song, I believe I have no copyright entitlements to the song itself. I am proud of the work I did on the song, but it wouldn't have existed had I not been supplied with the "framework" before it as such.

What do you think?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#56
Composition credit still goes to your friend. Nice of him to let you use it, though.

Something to think about - and I admittedly don't know much about this - is that an arrangement can *also* be copyrighted.

Consider this.... a tune like, say, "Jingle Bells" is probably a public domain song. However, a concert band / small orchestra / whatever might choose to play Jingle Bells at a Christmas concert. The director buys a book or a score with an arrangement of Jingle Bells and the band learns it. Why does Mel Bay or Hal Leonard or whomever have the right to make money from it? Because it's their *arrangement*, which is a copyrightable creative work.

What I don't know is: What does that mean in terms of how much who is entitled for financial compensation? What's the difference between this and some cover band coming in and saying "we changed the arrangement so you can't sue us for stealing your song?"

My guess is that the arrangement and the composition are copyrighted separately. Steal the composition and the arrangement and you've stolen twice - or at least from potentially two separate interested parties. (get taken to court twice, or by two people).

Based on that logic, the composition is still his, but you could copyright the arrangement.

This would not give you any rights to the composition itself without at least providing compensation to the composer. But if someone else covered the song and used his arrangement, they would owe you nothing. If someone else covered the song and used your arrangement, they would owe you and your friend.

This all makes sense to me.

The big question is.... proportionally.... how much would they owe you and your friend?

At what point does an arrangement become a copyrightable 'creative work?' Maybe some things are obvious (a full orchestral score where new parts are created and included to complement the composition vs a single acoustic guitar playing just the chords), and the grey area in between is decided by a judge - similar to "where does a few notes strung together become a copyrightable creative work?

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.
#57
so if i play my songs live someone else can just steal it? although i got it recorded on my computer...?

and what if i go to a major lable and show them my work and want a record deal.. and they steal it and uses it for another artist.. how can i trust them?

how can i protect my songs for free or for a very small price?
it's stupid that you would need money to protect something you created in music -.-
#58
Quote by unnamed123
so if i play my songs live someone else can just steal it? although i got it recorded on my computer...?


Not if you can prove you owned it first. Note that you don't have to prove you wrote it. It is assumed that the first owner is also the writer. A date stamp on your computer would NOT be acceptable. Read above elsewhere in this thread for more info on that.

Quote by unnamed123

and what if i go to a major lable and show them my work and want a record deal.. and they steal it and uses it for another artist.. how can i trust them?


Again, not if you can prove you owned it before them. Keep in mind, though, that the more money that is available to fight against you, the more absolute rock-solid your case has to be that proves you owned it. If a court case potentially goes upwards to $20 000, do you really want to get into that kind of cost to protect a song that might not be worth that much, knowing that you might lose it all in the end? High-priced entertainment lawyers are good at what they do. Do have deep enough pockets and a secure enough support to fight that?

Quote by unnamed123

how can i protect my songs for free or for a very small price?
it's stupid that you would need money to protect something you created in music -.-


See above in this thread.

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.
#59
i heard copyright lasted 50 years after the death of the writer in the US....70 years in some countries.

Can people cover Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly without worrying about the rights now ?
#60
Great question. How about "I think so."

Holly died in 1959, which puts him just over 50 years dead.

This source here, from Cornell U, suggests that works published in the US in that time period (1929-1963) become public domain 50 years after the death of the composer. However, it also suggests that the copyright may extend to 95 years following the composers' death if the copyright was renewed.

http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm

This does make a couple of suppositions:
1. That Holly (aka Charles Hardin) was the primary composer of any given song.
2. That the song was first published in the USA.

Now, check footnote #8. There are a couple of good links there. One tells you (a US govt resource) "how to investigate the copyright status of a work" and another tells you (a Pennsylvania U site) How to tell if a copyright has been renewed.

A source at this forum suggests that a company MPL communications still holds the rights. Hard to say how credible this is, but a visit to the MPL site seems to show that they are currently licencing works by Holly. Now, is that because they just haven't been removed from the catalogue? I dunno. Just because a work has been sitting in someone's licencing catalogue for years and years doesn't mean they remove things the day they become public domain. I really don't have a ready, definitive explanation for that. http://www.digitalspy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1123308

This CBC article (reasonably credible source, but journalists aren't copyright experts, so beware) suggests that Peggy Sue was to become Public Domain shortly, but it also said 2010. http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2009/01/12/publicdomain2.html Why 2010? Because, I think, copyright goes to the beginning of the next calendar year. So, Holly died in 1959 would have his copyright protected until the end of 2009. I seem to recall reading that somewhere. Canadian... USA.... can't be sure.

Maybe this 'calendar year' language is what still allows MPL communications to still licence his work... but only until Jan. 1/10. ??

Here's another interesting link: Holly's widow has trademarked his name and image, and therefore controls how and where those resources are used, such as whether or not they can be used in conjunction with the Buddy Holly Festival, etc. Sure, nothing to do with his music, but an interesting related side-note.

http://www.buddyhollyarchives.com/2007/07/will-buddy-hollys-name-fall-into-public-domain-in-february-2009/

tl;dr - It might be, but it might not be.

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.
#61
My drummer and I used to do video productions, and occasionally needed to know if the music a client wanted was still copyrighted(some pretty old stuff sometimes). This may or may not help, but here's a couple of things you can do.

There are lists, Google: "public domain music", and pick a list. Many are categorized by genre or date, which makes it a bit easier.

I believe the US is 70 years after death of the copyright holder, plus an extension of 28 years, so it is doubtful that anything popular from the 1940's on, is not still covered. I'm sure there are exceptions.

Rules for Corporate copyright holders are a bit different too. I think their initial term is 95 years.

For specifics, Google: "copyright terms and the public domain."
#62
From a US copyright guide (putting this first, as Buddy Holly was American): http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf

Works originally copyrighted between January 1, 1950, and December 31, 1963: Copyrights in their first 28-year term on January 1, 1978, still had to be renewed in order to be protected for the second term. If a valid renewal registration was made at the proper time, the second term will last for 67 years. However, if renewal registration for these works was not made within the statutory time limits, a copyright originally secured between 1950 and 1963 expired on December 31st of its 28th year, and protection was lost permanently.


Interesting stuff from Canada's Intellectual Property Office: http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr00506.html


General rule

The general rule is that copyright lasts for the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and for 50 years following the end of the calendar year. [I knew I saw that language somewhere....] Therefore, protection will expire on December 31 of the 50th year. After that, the work becomes part of the public domain and anyone can use it. For example, Shakespeare's plays are part of the public domain; everyone has an equal right to produce or publish them. This rule applies to all categories of works except those to which special rules apply. Some of the more important special rules are listed below.

...exception...

Sound recordings


This category includes audio cassettes, CDs, recordings and similar devices. Copyright lasts for 50 years after the end of the calendar year of the first fixation of the sound recording.


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.
#64
Thanks, man!

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.
#65
I have a question. In one of my band's songs, we have a solo in which the Rhythm guitarist and I go back and forth with different solos (think Welcome Home), it's only about 8 bars each. It's usually improvised, but once I played a part of the solo to Soothsayer by Buckethead and like how it fits into the song, and the fact that's it's like a "tribute" to my favorite guitarists (I see people do things like that live all the time for ones like Jimi). It's a small riff/melody, only about 3-4 seconds long, and it repeats several times in Soothsayer with licks in between, it's the part from 4:57-5:18.

I was wondering if something like this is considered "compositionally important" enough to pose an issue if we were to record the song with me playing that. Also, I'm assuming it would be fine to do playing live in a place that had payed the blanket fees for covers (hell, I'd do it in any other place as well, not like anyone will notice). It's mainly the recording issue I'm concerned about. Thanks.
#66
Geez.... I don't know. It sounds to me like one of those 'grey area' questions where the answer is that "there is no clear answer." It could ultimately be determined by a judge.

I like to go on the basis of, if in doubt, play it safe.

Let me change your question slightly:

I have a song where the basis of the song is built around the walk this way riff. It's only a two measure motif that keeps repeating. Would it be a violation of copyright? Well... still not totally clear, but I would venture to guess that that particular riff would be considered either compositionally important, or more likely would most certainly be considered melodically unique. You could well find yourself on the losing end of that one.

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.
#67
I see what you're saying, but my question is more like "6 seconds of my song is based off of 6 seconds of his song, is that ok?" And I was just wondering if something so small could be considered important. But I suppose it might be considered melodically unique? Especially because I'm using the riff on purpose (not like I coincidentally created the same one)?
#68
Question for you... I looked though some of the band name thread, but didn't see anything that would relate to my problem. I have a cover band that has performed in Southern California for 5 or 6 years using a certain name. Lets call it "The Big Bad Dog Band" (not the real name). I've been getting emails from a guy in Illinois with and original band who is telling me we must stop using our name, he has it trademarked. What he has trademarked is "Big Bad Dog" as his band name. His trademark is only 6 or 8 months old. Am I obigated to change the name of my band simply because he has trademarked Big Bad Dog? He's released a couple CD's and claims his fans find my website instead of his. I don't believe it's my problem... Is it?
#69
Honestly, I'm not sure. Try this, though... find his website. DOES he have a couple of CDs under that name?

Here are my thoughts. They may be wrong.

Ask him to send you a copy of the trademark papers. If he refuses, then you refuse.

If HE wants to sick a lawyer on you, it's his dime. If a lawyer is involved, the first strategy the lawyer will use will be to send you a copy of the trademark papers along with a "cease and desist" kind of letter.

If there are no papers, he has no case.

If there are papers, read through them carefully. Do they define a territory where the name is trademarked?

Another thing that I find a little suspicious - and remember, I may be wrong here - is that typically, a trademark applies to a logo or a symbol or something. Think McDonald's "Golden Arches" logo. A band name... idunno.

If it were me, I'd call him on it and see how far he is willing to go. If it's looking like you're going to have to go to court and risk losing and paying the bill, then change it and save yourself the hassle and expense.

If it's looking like he's really serious, and has a genuine claim, you might otherwise choose to consult an entertainment lawyer yourself.

Keep us posted on how it works out. This could be interesting.

EDIT: quick search turned up this:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Can-You-Trademark-Your-Business-Name?&id=453285

Seems maybe you can trademark a band name. However, what I do know about trademarking is that it is rather expensive, and takes a long time. I seem to recall something like 18 months and $2500 or something. I don't know why some independent original band would go through that effort and expense. Or even how they would even pay that expense when there are so many other things to spend what little money you make on.

I'm still thinking along the lines of calling his bluff.

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.
#70
axeman, I agree. What you posted answers Morrok's question too. When it comes to the gray areas, it often depends upon who blinks first, or how actively, and how much money an artist has to protect their legal rights.

To Morrock, I've actually played some blatantly stolen riffs, and no one said a word. Of course, we weren't a threat to anyone either.

In Mrocketscience's case, I would say that the guy giving him grief doesn't have much of a leg to stand on. Trademark issues, as you have often pointed out, are different than copyrights in some significant ways. One thing that is a large consideration in both though, is the party filing a suit needs to be able to explain how they have been financially, or in some other way harmed. That's not cheap, or easy. These are matters of Civil Law, and unless we're talking about significant amounts of money, it's usually not worth going to the Courts over. Then again, some people file frivolous suits, and you have to deal with it. Like you, I'd say stand your ground, but if the guy wants to rumble, change you name, and move on.
#71
Thanks guys for your input.. I think I'm going to do what you suggest and just sit on it until something comes from a lawyer. If it does, I'll just change the name and be done wth it... No sense spending more money. After all, while our band does turn a profit, it's still a hobby really. Don't want to turn it into a money pit....
#72
Is this guy still e-mailing you?

If he is, does he seem reasonable?

I just ask, because the course you've decided to take is reasonable, but there are some "odd" folks out there. Hopefully this guy doesn't think he's Orly Taits or something. If he does send you anything by snail mail, either on his own, or from a lawyer/law firm, consider getting your own counsel. I just say that, because these guys usually back off if you lawyer up too. Especially if yours has a good reputation.

For various reasons, I've had a business lawyer(the same guy)for over 25 years. He's not cheap, I rarely need him, but he makes annoying people go away(yes legally). He's been well worth every penny I've paid him. Hopefully you won't need to go that far.
#73
Hi... Yeah, he's still emailing me. He wants me to take down my website. However, the domain name belongs to me, so he won't be able to use it. I've offered to put a link to his band on my page for people looking for them, but haven't gotten any response on that. So, I don't know where it will go from here. I may get a new web domain that just uses the initials of my band, and redirect traffic from my old web page. Oh, and put a link on the page that says "If your looking for douchebag "Big Bad Dog" from Illinois go HERE"... lol...
#74
Meh.... I'd stand your ground and don't worry about it until he gives you reason to. If the domain reflects your band name and will be a more intuitive name for your fans to remember your address, you should use it. I mean, it IS yours.

Be professional. Don't resort to flaming him publicly on your site.

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.
#75
What if you upload it to a site like Soundclick that is a 3rd party which would have the upload date and time that couldn't be tampered with?

Would that be legitimate proof that you made the song first?
#76
I dunno. Might be....

I guess it comes down to whether you want to protect your material with something bullet proof, or something that is so well documented that it might not be proof but is certainly compelling, or with something that might hold up.

To use my analogy above with the bicycle. Some people just leave it out on the front porch and hope nobody steals it. Others get Kryptonite locks and then lock it in their basement on top of that. Others just throw it in the back yard... maybe locked.... maybe not.

How far do you want to go to protect it?

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.
#77
Ok, help me out...

I started a group call "Mission Complete" only to find out a band in Texas has the same name (Im in Florida btw)

All they have is a free, 3 song EP, and I have 4 MIDI;s of my songs. What happens, do I have to change the name?
#78
Go to page one of this sticky.... right at the top.... look for "Help! Someone stole my band name!"

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.
#80
Thanks!

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.