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Topic: Registering a copyright???

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  1. #1
    Senior Member musicmad's Avatar
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    Registering a copyright???

    Hi,
    i understand copyright is an automatic protection, but would registering a copyright with an official body, such as a (copyright registration service) give the copyright owner a stronger case of evidence should there be a dispute over authorship??? i know in the U.S. its a requirement to register your copyright with the (U.S. copyright office) but i dont reside in the U.S. but in europe..

    example, additional witnesses, hence the (Copyright registration office) to aurthenticate your ownership of copyright, should there be a dispute...

    or is just mailing the copyright to yourself through the national post just as good???

    Musicmad

  2. #2

    Re: Registering a copyright???

    They told me to make a copy of it, send it to yourself registered postal package, sealed, whatever. Never open it. Or give it to you sollicitor, unopened. Why registered? Because then you have a day-of-the-year-stamp on it.

    Another thing is to go to one of those bureaus, register, pay a lot of money, send it to them (don't do this, because even you yourself cannot make a copy of your own work without being accused of violating the copyright law).

    So I prefer the first option. They copy it anyway, whatever you do. Unless you have millions to spend for lawsuites, you are always the loser.

    Raymond

  3. #3

    Re: Registering a copyright???

    I read somewhere, some time back, that the validity of mailing a piece to yourself had yet to be held up in court. I think the safest thing is to register it with the copyright office.

    I know the law states that a piece is automatically copyrighted when it is created, but this seems absurd to me. How in the world would you prove that you came up with it first? Another case of lawmakers not using their brains.

  4. #4

    Lightbulb Re: Registering a copyright???

    Quote Originally Posted by musicmad View Post
    Hi,
    i understand copyright is an automatic protection, but would registering a copyright with an official body, such as a (copyright registration service) give the copyright owner a stronger case of evidence should there be a dispute over authorship??? i know in the U.S. its a requirement to register your copyright with the (U.S. copyright office) but i dont reside in the U.S. but in europe..

    example, additional witnesses, hence the (Copyright registration office) to aurthenticate your ownership of copyright, should there be a dispute...

    or is just mailing the copyright to yourself throught the national post just as good???

    Musicmad
    In the US, registration gives you the right to collect royalties from before you filed your infringement suit (it legally puts the infringer on notice). Information on registering copyrights in the US can be found at http://www.copyright.gov/. Right now, you can register your copyright electronically (as a beta tester) for only $35. This is the official US registration: no need to pay some other organization to file this for you.

    The main problem with "mail it to yourself" is that it is possible to send yourself an empty envelope, and simply fill it later (even years later). Thus, it is not very convincing as evidence. You could send a dozen empty envelopes to yourself today, and then spend the next few years filling them with the greatest hits of 2008-2010. Then, in 2015, open them in front of your friends and "prove" that you wrote all that great stuff first.

    Grant
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

  5. #5

    Re: Registering a copyright???

    Check out the US libary of congress copyright office web site: http://www.copyright.gov.

    The I checked with my lawyer, he said that, basically, just putting a copyright notice on your work protects it -- registered or not. Registering not only proves the date when it was created, but it also makes sure that what you have written can be legally copyrighted (which can potentially save you a lot of headaches latter on). But the laws are changing all the time. If you have a serious question your best bet is to get advice from an attorney who specializes in copyright law. Especially, if fair use or potential infringement is an issue. (I suppose this is less common in music, where you might want to quote or satirize another work, but it can be a big deal in dramatic works -- especially comedy and parody.)

    If you just want to register a copyright, you can do that yourself. For drama and musicals it's form PA. (I think it's the same for music alone.) I just registered a screenplay this week and was shocked to see that the registration fee had gone up to $45. (It was only $30 the last time I did this -- and that was only about a year or two ago).

    US copyrights are respected in most countries.

  6. #6

    Re: Registering a copyright???



    Yes, legally registering your work for copyright is the strongest case for evidence, and "Poor Man's Copyright" (mailing your work to yourself) isn't the best idea, as it can be easily faked.

    You can also try MyFreeCopyright.com. Here's how the site puts it:
    The real trick in today’s times is to be able to prove you are the copyright owner and when you created it. My Free Copyright provides you with a verifiable dated record associating your copyright, you, and your terms of use. Once registered, you can use the My Free Copyright logo to deter infringers and act as your first level of defense. If an infringement should occur, you can use the My Free Copyright registration to prove to the infringer you are the owner and what you would like them to do. In the United States if notifying the infringer did not resolve the recognition or royalties you require and you need to go to a court of law, you are Required to register with the United States Copyright Office before you can file for a litigation trial. Filing for the registration costs $45 For the U.K. and most of Europe along with South America, the registration you receive from My Free Copyright may be enough to represent you and prove you are the copyright owner in a court of law. See a professional in your jurisdiction before moving into a litigation trial in a court of law.
    string quartet (ˈstriŋ kwȯr-ˈtet) n. a good violinist, a bad violinist, an ex-violinist, and someone who hates violinists, all getting together to complain about composers

  7. #7
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    Re: Registering a copyright???

    I was shocked when I noticed the fee is now $45. I've got a pile of songs I wanted to register. Now they don't even send back anything showing it was registered.

    Jim

  8. #8

    Re: Registering a copyright???

    There is a discussion going in SOL, but thought of putting my toughts here as well, to see the reaction.

    1. As mentioned before you get copyright the minute the work is created, in most countries.
    2. The trick is to show since when you got copyright. If someone comes with an earlier date, you basically stole from him/her.
    3. The trick is also to show that indeed this IS your track and not somebody's else

    The mail it to yourself trick doesn't seem to work, at least in some countries.

    The registration does appear to work, but is costly! Problem with registration is that you either:
    a. Don't post anything until you get a CD full of tacks and THEN you post it (a big loss if you ask me)
    b. Register every track you make (huge financial burden if you ask me)

    There is a third option though: Almost all my music is being used either in documentaries, or computer games, or my PhD. All these provide automatic proof of the minute of existance inside the medium! I had a game released, the game credits me as the author and is on sale since early... March. So since then I'm automatically registered as the composer of the music for THAT game. An NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement), fobids me to really start posting all music before the game was released. Makes sense, no? So unless someone hacked in my systems before the game was released, they have extremely slim chances of even listening to those tracks! Only my wife and 2 Internet people I know and trust have heard them before release (ok which is a semi-open door, but still I trust them). Anyone listening to my tracks he is listening from the already out on sale computer game, and no other way!

    If they want to challenge me, even with prior dates I have:
    a. my clients
    b. my contracts
    c. my works in progress
    d. All Cubase files
    e. All audio flies, midi files, even manuscript scores
    f. Dates on the computer (this is not much of a proof, but it does add a tiny bit something I reckon).

    In all, I can't see how anyone can challenge my copyright in this case. And in every other case of games already being released!

    The PhD issue has automatically University of London on my back! Comissions, performances, workshops, yearly reviews, upgrades to PhD status, etc. They want a piece of that (who on earth would want that music anyways? ) they have to go through the University of London! Let them try I say!

    ____________________________

    But this is not absolutely eveything.

    Sure there are scums in the music business, like every other business. Music is no different! But somehow I'm too naive, I believe in the strength of this community, I love the XMas Garritan CDs, and can't see myself stopping for the no registration reason! And I can't see anyone stopping for that reason either. Unless they would like to tell me that everytime a person makes a post, they also have registered their music...

    Yes music gets stolen occasionally! YES occasionally! It has happened in a handful of famous cases and... that's all! The rest you don't know! If you believe that you have something so well made and so catchy that it is worth registering, fine, but in all honesty my tracks are not catchy, are not fine in that sense, they have this "nikolian" sense, same as et lux and Jamie, and rollifer and many other people in here. Great music, but not suitable for sampling and using in a hip hop record! And I'm sure that Jamie, Dave, Ron and everyone else in here, have enough knowledge to battle and win their ownership (as long as te judge knows about music of course).

    _______________________________

    I don't know, I tend not to worry too much about these things. Had I chassed registration for eveyrthing I did a few years back, I wouldn't have my website, or my website would be filled with...3 mp3s in all and never updated, or I would have to pay $45x10 times that I've updated my website! Right now I just feel... fine because I got gigs from my website, help and feedback from the community, and looooove...

    Am I too insane?

  9. #9

    Re: Registering a copyright???

    I'm glad to see that the "mail it to yourself" registration method has been thoroughly trounced on this thread as the "old wives tale" that it is---At least here in The States, it's useless.

    The fee for official, virtually iron-clad copyright registration shouldn't be an obstacle, because you can register a huge amount of songs in one fell swoop - submitting them as a collection of songs. There's absolutely no need to register each song individually. Each song in your submitted collection is fully protected.

    Randy B.

  10. #10

    Re: Registering a copyright???

    Of course Randy you are right. But I keep producing tracks on a.. weekly bases. So even if I register everything I have right now, in mid May I will have new tracks unregistered... That's my only problem really with registration! Any advice on this, please?

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