#1
I know there are other copyright threads but either they don't answer my question or have been dead for months. I have some specific questions on copyright laws and forms in the U.S. I am just about to finish recording my first album at home and have been researching in ways to protect my songs. I have countlessly heard "Oh, just mail your lyrics to yourself and don't open it!" Ummm, while that sounds fine and dandy "poor man's copyright does not hold up in court.

http://www.copyright.gov/forms/

Unless I am not understanding this correctly, according to the U.S. copyright office, I can file electronically for $35 which includes important documents, books, photographs, and sound recordings. They even mention about sending the cd in a standard jewel case rather than a slim one to the Library of Congress to avoid damage. So with these statements, I think one can assume that they issue copyrights for cds in this method. Is this right?

But I'm still building up to my questions... I had this family friend who works on the administrative side of a radio station tell me that it won't cover my underlying works. (I guess lyrics and such) How can this be? If I sending my CD to be filed in the Library of Congress won't that recording contain both lyrics and musical composition in the recording? She suggested going through BMI to get a copyright, but I don't see why I need to deal with a third party rather than the Copyright office directly.

http://www.bmi.com/

I need someone who has actually done this before. It doesn't sound like such a big deal but people keep telling me bs. Thanks
"A sense of purpose overrides reason."- Terry Goodkind

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."-Jimi Hendrix


\,,/GETCHA PULL!!!\,,/
- the late and ever-loved "Dimebag" Darrell Lance Abbott
#2
Copy? Right!
It's not worth anything, even if your material is copyrighted, if someone wants to steal your songs, without doing anything illegal...
If someone write a new bass line, rewrite every 8th line in the lyrics, and play it in a different key, then it's a new original song, you can't do anything about it.

And again great artist have been copied a thousand times , and even after that we all love the original creators.
#3
I guess I understand what you are saying but I'm pretty sure those were not coherent sentences. Regardless, that didn't help me. Next?
"A sense of purpose overrides reason."- Terry Goodkind

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."-Jimi Hendrix


\,,/GETCHA PULL!!!\,,/
- the late and ever-loved "Dimebag" Darrell Lance Abbott
#4
Advantage of direct copyright: Cheap
Advantage of 3rd party copyright: It's done properly and more likely better protection.

I assume there's a more proper method of copyright protection than just filing a form.
#5
@lextexrex Yeah I was thinking the same but I can't really seem to find where on the BMI website to sign up for a copyright with them, just licensing...
"A sense of purpose overrides reason."- Terry Goodkind

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."-Jimi Hendrix


\,,/GETCHA PULL!!!\,,/
- the late and ever-loved "Dimebag" Darrell Lance Abbott
#7
Quote by Nemui-Kuma
Copy? Right!
It's not worth anything, even if your material is copyrighted, if someone wants to steal your songs, without doing anything illegal...
If someone write a new bass line, rewrite every 8th line in the lyrics, and play it in a different key, then it's a new original song, you can't do anything about it.

And again great artist have been copied a thousand times , and even after that we all love the original creators.


Wow... I can't believe how wrong this is... on so many levels.

Put very simply, if a judge feels that two pieces of work are too similar, then it is a violation of copyright. You can NOT sit there and say, "I changed two words, three notes in the bass line and changed the key, so nya-na-na-nya-na... you can't touch me." Any judge would see right through that and nail your @ss to the wall.

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.
#8
To the question....

I have never formally copyrighted anything, but I do feel that my work is sufficiently protected. See, in the end, it doesn't matter which channels you have gone through to protect your work. It just matters that you can prove that the work is yours and you are the current owner, and that you owned it before the person you are protecting it from. If nobody can prove that they owned it before you, then it is assumed that you are the creator. But that's all moot anyways, whether you are the creator or not. What matters is who holds the rights... and that would be the owner, whether they are the creator or not.

I've laid out my story in quite a bit of detail here, in the copyright for dummies 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.
#9
BMI is not a copyright organization, from the appearance of things. They help manage the rights to your material. They are what is called a PRO - Performing Rights Organization. Whenever your work is performed - which by legal definition includes having your recording played on the air - you are entitled to royalties. TV networks, radio stations, etc. have to track all of the compositions they air, and they submit the tracking sheets to BMI. These media entities will also forward their licencing fees to BMI. What BMI does, then, is tally up how many times you got played, and where, and sends you the money that you have coming to you.

Keep in mind, too, that this is all jurisdictional. BMI is responsible for performance royalties of British artists/works. ASCAP is the same, only for the USA, and SOCAN is the same, only for Canada. These organizations will have what is called a "reciprocal agreement" with each other. That means that, when your song gets played in the UK and is tracked by BMI, then this information will be shared with ASCAP, and you will still get your money.

Why someone would suggest that an American go through the British organization speaks to some degree about their level of knowledge about these things in general.

Filing a copyright is done through a government agency - here in Canada, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. I'm sure it is similar in the US.

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.
#10
Publish it. Anywhere. If you want you can add the copyright symbol: © followed by the year and whatever you want to call your "band" or "artist" or "record label."

Legally if you post a link of Facebook on the 7th of July, 2011, regardless of whether or not you use the ©, (c) (which works, too), you can still legally sue somebody who steals your music.

Adding a tag like "© 2011 Blast Beats & Grind" won't hurt.

Really, though, who is going to steal your music? Most people don't even give a shit about you or your music. If they do it is for selfish reasons, and if they do steal it from you there is very little you can do about it.

In other words, don't worry about it!

My philosophy is, "Steal my music, please!" because if one of my pieces ends up in a Cheetos commercial, then I simply wait for the ad to run its course and the "artist" who stole it to make all the money they are going to make (surprisingly little, I'm afraid), and then sue them.

Now if you write a #1 hit, and Lady Gaga is singing one of your songs for some reason, what is going to happen?

You are GOING to settle out of court for $20,000 (or something) and she is going to go on and make $10 million on the song anyway. Her lawyers and managers and whatever people she's got in her entourage are going to explain to you that you could either,

A) get your ass handed to you in court, and waste $50,000 of your own money being made a fool of or...

B) take the pittance they will hand you and walk away.

The only advice I would give you on that decision is to ask for the money in $100 bills. Say, "can I have the cash?"

Take the cash and walk away. No copyright necessary.
"Virtually no one who is taught Relativity continues to read the Bible."

#11
I will answer your question, and nothing more (because I can go on for HOURS about this, I have a degree in music industry and work for a MAJOR MAJOR publisher).

That $35 fee for registration is the proper one for audio recordings. In order to save money, you can register all of your songs as one collection for that flat fee, you do NOT have to do them all separately and pay for each. That's not a loophole or sketchy or anything, it's just not common knowledge. Got that tip from a professor of mine back in the day!

If you have any more questions, feel free to email me. It looks like Chris has you covered with the PRO explanation, which I totally agree with except his distinction between ASCAP and BMI being a country thing- they're both global and open to anyone regardless of country. SESAC is a mostly European thing, CMRRA is Canadian, but to the best of my knowledge they all operate globally (except maybe CMRRA) because my company is based in the US and we affiliate with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

Best of luck, man!
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Last edited by Sid McCall at Jul 7, 2011,
#12
Quote by Sid McCall

That $35 fee for registration is the proper one for audio recordings. In order to save money, you can register all of your songs as one collection for that flat fee, you do NOT have to do them all separately and pay for each. That's not a loophole or sketchy or anything, it's just not common knowledge. Got that tip from a professor of mine back in the day!


^ Yes, this is as I understand it. I believe I covered it in the copyright for dummies thread.

Quote by Sid McCall

...which I totally agree with except his distinction between ASCAP and BMI being a country thing- they're both global and open to anyone regardless of country.


Okay... I stand corrected.

Quote by Sid McCall

CMRRA is Canadian,


Yes, but not a PRO. They are a reproduction rights association. SOCAN is our PRO here in Canada.

Quote by Sid McCall

but to the best of my knowledge they all operate globally (except maybe CMRRA) because my company is based in the US and we affiliate with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

Best of luck, man!


This is what I was referring to with the reciprocal agreements. As a Canadian artist, if I were to be played on a US station, for instance, I would still get paid from SOCAN. As a Canadian, I joined SOCAN, but with the reciprocal agreements, they are international in scope.

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
Thank you everyone! I can tell who really knows what they are talking about. I will definitely take a look at that Copyright for dummies thread, being that I am a dummy. I searched "copyright" and that thread never came up, hmm. But yeah, my suspicions about copyrights seem to be correct, I just needed to hear it from someone who seems like they know what they are talking about. Thanks again!
"A sense of purpose overrides reason."- Terry Goodkind

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."-Jimi Hendrix


\,,/GETCHA PULL!!!\,,/
- the late and ever-loved "Dimebag" Darrell Lance Abbott