#1October 26th, 2007 · 09:09 AM
110 threads / 55 songs
463 posts
sad sad story
I was talking with my new guitarist recently and he told me about the time he was trying to sell songs to editing companies
He made the naive mistake to send songs without copyright to label and other editing people and ended up having one of his song stolen
Nothing he could do about it sadly and even worse the song ended up being a top 10 hit for a known act
His only consolation is that he wrote a hit even if he didn't get any recognition for it
I'm myself totally clueless about copyright and all that so if anyone could give me some tips on the subject i would be gratefull
#2October 26th, 2007 · 12:01 PM
42 threads / 1 songs
556 posts
United States of America
This subject has come up before.....
Basically, everyone HAS copyrights to their song/work of art. Thing his, most people don't have copyright protection. There are two things you have to do yourself if you want some basic protection.

First off, you have to be able to prove that you really did have copyrights to your music. The best way I know of to do that is to burn a copy onto a CD, put it in an envelope, and mail it to yourself. The postmark on it will be considered legal proof that you had it at that date. Anyone who steals it from you won't have proof that they had it before that.

Second, you basically just have to include one of the little C symbols on the CD or something. That'll warn the studio you send it to, "Hey, I'm not some n00b artist, I know how this works, if you steal from me I'm going to make trouble for you."
#3October 26th, 2007 · 01:23 PM
188 threads / 27 songs
2,821 posts
well I guess the original material is in his hands... and that should be an evidence to strike back....
#4October 26th, 2007 · 06:53 PM
14 threads / 9 songs
90 posts
United States of America
Even without a copyright, don't people have the full rights to their material? Therefore, he can sue that label. I'm not 100% sure of every detail, so I'll ask a lawyer, and post that later...
EDIT: Okay, so I talked to a lawyer aka a family member who is a lawyer (which comes in handy...) Anyway, he said that first of all, I have to mention that I am not offering any legal advice. Second, it depends on the country that the music was sent to, as well as where it was coming from. International courts are typically hard to sue in, and different countries have different laws reguarding copyright. It says you're from the UK, so go to this website http://www.ipo.gov.uk/copy.htm (the website for the UK Intellectual Property Office [the Patent Office]).
For music, it says: "Copyright applies to music when it is recorded, either by writing it down or in any other manner. With a song there will usually be more than one copyright associated with it. If you are the composer of the music you will be the author of the musical work and will have copyright in that music. The lyrics of a song are protected separately by copyright as a literary work. The person who writes the lyrics will own the copyright in the words.
If your work is subsequently recorded the sound recording will also have copyright protection. The producer of the recording will own the copyright in the sound recording.
Composers of music may also have moral rights in their work."
The link to the copyright infringement information is http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/c-other/c-infringe.htm
And, read this http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/c-other/c-license.htm
And, it says about copyright registers: "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. Some of the things to think about are:
How much does it cost and is it a one-off or regular payment?
Are you paying just for a registration, or does the cost cover more than this, for example help with a legal action should your copyright be infringed?
Is the registration likely to be better than the evidence you can create for yourself by sending a copy of the work to yourself by Special Delivery post and not opening the envelope upon its return?
Are you likely to have a problem proving that you had the copyright material at a certain time which is all that registration can help prove?
Note that neither registration nor sending a copy of the work to yourself show that you were the creator of the work. Keeping copies of all your drafts and any other material that shows your connection with the particular copyright material as you develop it could, however, be useful evidence if you ever have to prove that you are the author." (http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/c-claim/c-register.htm )
It also says about automatic protection: "There is no official registration system for copyright in the United Kingdom (UK) and most other parts of the world. There are no forms to fill in and no fees to pay to get copyright protection.
So long as you have created a work that qualifies for copyright protection, that is it falls into one of the categories of material protected by copyright, you will have copyright protection without having to do anything to establish this. It is a requirement of various international conventions on copyright that copyright should be automatic with no need to register.
To help protect your copyright work, it is advisable to mark it with the symbol, the name of the copyright owner and the year of publication. Although this is not essential, it will let others know when the term of protection started and hence whether it is still covered by copyright, and indicate who to approach should they need to ask permission to use the work." (http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/c-claim/c-auto.htm )
Basicly, all that information that was in quotes was copied and pasted directly from that website, so just go to http://www.patent.gov.uk (or http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ , it's the same website). Just click around there and read everything that you want to know.
If you ever want to sue for infringement, go to a lawyer for legal advice, make sure you have enough evidence, make sure it is certain that there is an infringement, and registering often helps in court.
#5October 27th, 2007 · 12:59 AM
64 threads / 13 songs
669 posts
United States of America
What if you mail yourself an unsealed envelope?  Better would be some sort of FedEx style place with certified envelopes or something of the sort.  Or you could go to a bank and get some sort of certified envelope or something from there, if that is even possible.
#6October 27th, 2007 · 02:25 AM
74 threads / 5 songs
441 posts
United States of America
Creative Commons is a great utility to license your work. They are a non-profit organization that is there to help you retain copyright... Non-profit, as in, you don't have to pay them a dime! Music uploaded to BandAMP is automatically protected under CC (unless something horrible happened, like the server crashed and all records of the music was lost). Anyways, check out this website for more information on Creative Commons: http://creativecommons.org/about/license/

I'm not sure whether the poor mans copyright works so well when held up in court (i.e. mailing yourself a time-stamped envelope with the works you desire to be protected inside)... I've heard that some people have run into problems, but that could purely just be hearsay, so don't take my word for it.
#7October 27th, 2007 · 06:55 AM
340 threads / 59 songs
4,344 posts
United Kingdom
I've got a few CDs with copies/backups of my written texts and my song 'creations' that I sealed, got a Post Office stamp over the seal and sent them to my self. 
Thought this might help here :
#8October 27th, 2007 · 11:56 AM
160 threads / 33 songs
1,964 posts
United States of America
Backward Hat you hit the nail on the head with that post ... copyright registration ..ie library of congress (USA) only registers you as the official owner ..there have been cases where  someone actually wrote the song , someone else stole it and registered it first  but it went to court and the court overturned the registration because the writer came in with enough proof to show it was his work.  I still think it is a good idea when you get a block of songs together to go ahead and register your work .


lots of info here on copyright for USA  too.
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