Hey guys, long-time lurker coming out of the shadows
What are some good ways to get educated on copyrights and the music business? Specifically, I'm looking for information on arrangements of existing songs. Done a quick search already, and from what I've gathered, you need permission (notice) from the owner of the song(s). How would you go about copyrighting the new arrangement and recording?
If we're talking records, then you don't need permission, but you do have to pay the royalty which is around 8 cents per copy sold. You get what's called a "compulsory license." It's pretty easy. Google "compulsory license" (Google tip: use the quotes) and you should get the info you need.
If we're talking TV or film, then you DO need permission. Except in rare situations, that will be expensive.
There are some books on copyrights, but I can't remember any names. There is a good one available through the "Mix Bookshelf" I think. It's Mix magazine's book store.
Their links page leads to more authoritative sites like the Copyright Office.
BTW, I think you're absolutely right about copyrighting arrangements and derivative works of copyrighted material. You need the holders permission. But that's not the same thing as copyrighting your own sound recording which does not require permission.