#1
OKay not sure if this is the right place, but my bands thinking about posting some original music up on myspace. Do we need to copyright it or anything? if we do how would we go about doing that?
#5
Even better than sending stuff to yourself, (which isn't actualy recognised in any published opinions of the United States courts and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office recognises the technique but does not recommend its use. It's reckoned to be too easy to cheat.) seal it in an envelope in front of witnesses (a solicitor would be best) and give it to your solicitor to keep.
He'll probably charge you a small amount for this, but you could use the one envelope and have many songs in it, which would be a saving.
This of course isn't exactly copyright per-say, it's just a form of proof that you wrote those songs before a particular date.
There is no official copyright register because copyright is automatic. There are certain steps you can take to protect your rights, but you do not have to register anywhere.

There are, however, a number of companies that offer unofficial copyright registers. You should think very carefully whether this is a useful service for you before choosing this route, because they'll basicaly do exactly what your own solicitor can do, but they'll charge you more money.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Jun 23, 2008,
#6
Ultimately, you need to be able to prove that you owned it before anyone else. Your proof needs to be air-tight. "My mom heard me jamming it in my basement fifteen years ago.... just ask her!" won't fly. haha

Here is something I posted earlier in this forum somewhere on this very topic:

Just by having composed something, you technically own the copyright to it. If someone takes it, though, the onus is on you to prove that you had it first. It is generally assumed that whoever had it first must have created it.

In other words, if you can't prove you wrote it, you need to at least prove that you owned it as of a certain date.

You don't NEED to have it officially copyrighted through some government office, but it is probably your most idiot-proof bet. You CAN do the old mail it to yourself via registered mail trick (don't open it!!), but that is NOT idiot-proof. Within that, though, you are still left defending yourself. If you hear your song some time later by a major recording artist, keep in mind that the record company's pockets are deeper than yours, and they can afford better lawyers than you, so be prepared. How much is it worth to you to defend, really, when it comes time for you to open your wallet? How sure are you that you have what it takes to win your case against a team of high-priced entertainment lawyers?

What we did was, by virtue of releasing our CD commercially (though independently), we have a pretty solid paper trail.

We have:
-registered our songs with SOCAN, a performing rights organization similar to ASCAP, BMI
-submitted a copy of our CD to our national archive library, which is very closely regulated, inventoried, tracked, etc.
-track listing in the artwork and work order (dated, of course) for when we had our disks duplicated.
-archived backup of the master wav files showing when the individual tracks for the songs were recorded.
-recordings (dated) of some of our stuff played on radio. Radio stations are required to keep logs of what they play.

The first two are pretty air-tight. The others, not so much. Even though we've not copyrighted our stuff formally, we have various channels we can use to prove that we owned the songs as of such-and-such a date.

CT
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#7
Just curious on how well this would stand up legally: seal music in an envelope in front of a public notary and have them sign it/seal it and date it. It would be much harder to fake and there is a witness who happens to be a government employee. again, just curious, so if you guys have any opinion, let me know.
#8
the mail trick has been known not to hold up in court, I doubt a sealed notarized envelope would either, your best bet is to register it with the LOC if you live in the U.S. or the proper office if you live elsewhere.
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#9
Quote by badgerkid
Just curious on how well this would stand up legally: seal music in an envelope in front of a public notary and have them sign it/seal it and date it. It would be much harder to fake and there is a witness who happens to be a government employee. again, just curious, so if you guys have any opinion, let me know.

Yeah, that's basicaly what I said about giving it to a solicitor.
The problem with the sealed envelope is that sealed envelopes can be unsealed and their contents tampered with, then re-sealed. This is why the person who you leave it with is important.
Because the solicitor is a legal representative, this makes him legaly trustworthy. So if you leave the envelope with him and he swears in court that he has not tampered with the envelope in any way, the envelope and it's contents will stand up in court.

Another option would be to witness the envelope being sealed then placed in a bank vault.