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- © (C in a Circle) applies to any of your compositions, your notation, your lyrics, on top of artwork or cover designs, all of these in their own rights have their individual copyright, and you must copyright them separately to ensure that they remain yours.
- The second type of copyright applies to the sound recording itself, and is signified by the ‘P in a circle’.
What's most important to understand is that you can't just slap the copyright symbol on your stuff and then say it's yours, you need LEGAL proof.
So if you ever wanted to copy a classical piece like Beethoven's 9th Symphony, you would legally be able to because he's been dead for over 70 years. The work itself would now be out of copyright, and available as a work in the public domain. But, you have to perform this and record this yourself so you are not stealing the entire sound file
Incase someone copies your sound file and claims it as their own you need to copyright the sound recording itself. This is separate from the underlying work. The actual copyright of the sound recording will last for 50 years from the day you first copyright it, or 50 years from the released date.
Just so you know now, you cannot copyright band names or artist names, you can however, use trademark. But it must not be similar to previous band names.
The proper way is to go to companies and have them copyright your stuff, so you have the papers, and so do they. A&R are the top company for copyrighting music and also publishing you or your band.
But most of you won't want to spend the money on copyrighting these songs, so I'll fill you in on an almost free way to copyright your music.
PLEASE NOTE: The rules have changed in the court of law and what I am about to write DOES NOT APPLY in America - this is still legal and can pass in a court of law here in England.
First off, you need to copy all of your songs onto a CD, write a statement (along with the date!! - SO important) saying that these are your compositions and you have composed them purely of your own accord. State the dates of when each song was composed, and sign the statement. Followed by the complete Musical Score (Notation). Then put them into an envelope (including the CD!!) and send it to yourself! Make sure the stamps have the date on them, so go to your post office and ask them to stamp it with the date.
Once you have received the envelope again, DO NOT OPEN IT . Keep it in a safe or somewhere to ensure that it is not damaged in anyway.
This is a legal way to copyright your music and you can legally use this should you take someone to court for stealing your music. On that day the Judge can then open it and see the actual date so it all works out.
You MUST make sure that you actually own the songs. That your MELODIES are not similar to any compositions you've heard before. Otherwise it will be YOU seeing time in prison and being fined.
Taking Official Company Methods...
You must (if you want get paid) PUBLISH your tunes Via Publishing Company like BMI or ASCAP ... the cost is relative to the payback.
These Publishing firms along with many others will put a strong legal lock on your tunes and if you make money off your tunes the fee's are well worth it as every single time your song is played on the radio, TV, and other means, you will be paid (not a LOT at first but it definitely adds up).
To make your profit more successful, you may sign up as an 'artist' and/or 'publisher' (I suggest both). This keeps your stuff "alive" money-wise, and protects all of your latest stuff PRIOR to releasing it in any form ...and that is the KEY: Publish THEN put it on the web etc.
ASCAP & BMI both accept proof other than pressed CDs or Vinyl (a burned copy works fine) and are quite easy to work with as THEY want a 'cut' of your music in exchange for protecting it and TRACKING it. IE: When you eventually receive a check from either it comes with a summery-report of where - when - how, this money was generated, which helps greatly with touring and so on.
I like both BMI and ASCAP , but BMI seems more 'on the spot' to me and you cannot be with BOTH firms at once. You CAN have older BMI material with BMI and currently be on ASCAP but not both 'new" and at the same time.
IF you tour release any recorded material for "commercial use" PLEASE PUBLISH IT it will save your music life, and hopefully make you some ker-ching as well.
If you post your music virally and do not copyright them, you stand a strong risk of them being bootlegged and taken from you without you actually being able to do anything. If you do copyright them then you can take them to court for it.
The sending to yourself will give you security while NOT generating any INCOME. A publishing firm WILL both legally protect your tunes and if all goes well.....generate income.
Hope that helped!
Also, check out my music listed on Sound Cloud (link below) if you like it follow me on facebook! :)
JazzMaverick on Sound Cloud
one of my songs, the verse rythm is the same as another song but the notes arnt anywherre cose to the same and it switches can i copyright the song?
This was extremely helpful, thank you
I'd have to hear both yours and the other song's section in order to say if it's allowed or not.
kk ill send u them, i made the song before i ever heard the other one, but then i heard the other, ill send you them.
this is a great lesson
So, lets say we do send the music to ourselves the way you said
Wow, so even now at my age I'd be allowed to persue a lawsuit against someone stealing my music if I posted and saved a CD and statement to myself? That's amazing! Thanks Jazz, I'll do that. But I can't record my music, any way around that?
I've heard of this before but I was told that this would not hold up in court.
Is there any way around the musical notation because I cant read music.
Its a really good talent to have, so try to learn
Interesting lesson :) Thanks. Though I have no desire of copyright my stuff lol, similar chord progressions been used by thousands of bands for ages...
Niece bit o information Jazz, it's also a good idea is to use registered post.
Ja Jazz might be hea but i wont bargain on either... :-) best to do like you said or just pay to keep your music safe.
Oh, 5 notes?... lol thats imho ridiculous... I can take there 5000 songs that have 5 notes or chrods consecutive and still they copyright those themselves... misty thing... :D.
This is an excellent topic. Look, you record a song and copyright it and sell a million copies, and then someone sues you for copyright infringement. Now they have to prove it, and if they do, fine, you screwed up. So you have to give them all or some portion of the profits you've made from that song. It's happened before, but I never heard of anyone going to prison over it. The main idea is to protect yourself from someone using YOUR song and selling a million copies. If they do, you are entitled to compensation, but you can't prove it unless you play by the rules listed above. Thank you for bringing up this lesson/topic for discussion.
If you decide to use a Copyright Office you can save by sending several songs as a batch under one name. My wife and I did this about ten years ago with about 9 songs but did not list separately. Instead we listed as SESSION 1. The cost is $50 per application (this is in US) and $35 if done on web. If you plan to send more than one batch, you need to know what songs were on each batch since they will be registered as one song. This is the url for the home page
So does this mean i can put a bethoven or bach piece in my recordings?
this is great ima copy right some songs! :D
does the score have to include percussion, I can read and write sheet music for regular instruments but not percussion
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