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Author Topic: Who Really Owns The Music?  (Read 5829 times)

hargerst

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Who Really Owns The Music?
« on: September 02, 2009, 02:40:28 pm »

Who Really Owns The Music?

A lot of questions have come up recently about copyrights and music ownership, and there's a lot of misinformation floating around out there about percentages, who controls what, and who you hafta pay when doing somebody else's songs.  Radio play, TV play, songs in movies, Internet broadcasting, and live shows all have different rates.  Lemme see if I can break it down simply for ya.  This might cover several posts.

Copyright
It all starts with the copyright; the copyright tells the world who wrote the song, and who has the final say on where and how that music is heard.  Simply stated, a "copyright" give the the owner the "exclusive right to make and control copies".  Nobody is permitted to make a copy of the music, or to perform it live, without the permission of the copyright holder.  

So, if you're a songwriter, how do you get a copyright for a song? Pretty simple.  Once you have a song in some tangible form (not just in your head), you have an automatic copyright, and you have the right (and the responsibility) to use the copyright symbol (
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

fiasco ( P.M.DuMont )

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2009, 06:14:47 pm »

Perhaps correct, perhaps not, but something I've heard which makes some sense
as far as establishing a time frame for "ownership":

Mail a copy of lyrics, music, some such to yourself.
Having the post marked, unopened parcel certainly sets a pretty concrete time frame.
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Philip

Bill_Urick

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2009, 06:35:00 pm »

I have heard from various people the lack of need to actually copyright material.

Anything we have that's remotely worth a s#!t gets a formal copyright.

Tell me I'm stupid.
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Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for everyone thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.

fiasco ( P.M.DuMont )

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2009, 07:37:57 pm »

Bill_Urick wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 18:35

I have heard from various people the lack of need to actually copyright material.

Anything we have that's remotely worth a s#!t gets a formal copyright.

Tell me I'm stupid.


I can not, sir, and I will not.
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Philip

hargerst

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2009, 08:02:31 pm »

OK, things are getting a little confused.

The minute your song is in some tangible form, you have a copyright.  That's different from registering your copyright.

Registering your copyright gives you additional benefits;  you can sue in court for punitive damages and court costs, which you can't do if you haven't registered your copyright with the government.  Without registering, you can only sue for proven damages.

A lot of publishers don't even file for copyright registration until a song is actually placed with an artist.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

0dbfs

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2009, 08:25:25 pm »

Fiasco wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 18:14

Perhaps correct, perhaps not, but something I've heard which makes some sense
as far as establishing a time frame for "ownership":

Mail a copy of lyrics, music, some such to yourself.
Having the post marked, unopened parcel certainly sets a pretty concrete time frame.


If you are willing to go through the trouble of mailing, storing, and reasonably attempting to protect (safe-deposit-box?) your copyright via this method (which is not guaranteed proof of registration), why not just fill out the online-form, upload your WAV and any other material like lyrics or notation and spend the couple of bucks ($35) to have it officially registered?

http://www.copyright.gov/register/

Cheers,
j
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Jonathan Burtner
Music is Everything!
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hargerst

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2009, 09:28:34 pm »

From the U.S. Copyright Office:

Q: I’ve heard about a "poor man’s copyright." What is it?
A: The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a "poor man’s copyright." There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

Bill_Urick

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2009, 11:17:51 pm »

Fiasco wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 19:37

Bill_Urick wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 18:35

I have heard from various people the lack of need to actually copyright material.

Anything we have that's remotely worth a s#!t gets a formal copyright.

Tell me I'm stupid.


I can not, sir, and I will not.


Well, OK.

I'll just have to get someone else to.

Any volunteers?

And could you slap me around a little at the same time?

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Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for everyone thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.

Hank Alrich

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2009, 11:59:59 pm »

0dbfs wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 17:25

Fiasco wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 18:14

Perhaps correct, perhaps not, but something I've heard which makes some sense
as far as establishing a time frame for "ownership":

Mail a copy of lyrics, music, some such to yourself.
Having the post marked, unopened parcel certainly sets a pretty concrete time frame.


If you are willing to go through the trouble of mailing, storing, and reasonably attempting to protect (safe-deposit-box?) your copyright via this method (which is not guaranteed proof of registration), why not just fill out the online-form, upload your WAV and any other material like lyrics or notation and spend the couple of bucks ($35) to have it officially registered?

http://www.copyright.gov/register/

Cheers,
j


Good advice.

Using Form SR (Sound Recording) you can register proof of up to 99 songs for that same amount of money. Later when you need to have an individual song copyrighted you can file Form PA (Performance Art).

Think about it: the Form SR route is both ironclad proof and cheaper than using Certified Mail (in the US) for the so-called "Poor man's copyright" for any comparable number of songs.

Regular mail won't cut it, and without a filed Form PA you cannot take advantage of the full force of the law in court.

Hank Alrich

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2009, 12:01:15 am »

Bill_Urick wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 20:17

Fiasco wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 19:37

Bill_Urick wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 18:35

I have heard from various people the lack of need to actually copyright material.

Anything we have that's remotely worth a s#!t gets a formal copyright.

Tell me I'm stupid.


I can not, sir, and I will not.


Well, OK.

I'll just have to get someone else to.

Any volunteers?

And could you slap me around a little at the same time?




You'll have to do something stupid first. So far it's not happening.

Strummer

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2009, 12:34:32 am »

Hank Alrich wrote on Thu, 03 September 2009 00:01

Bill_Urick wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 20:17

Fiasco wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 19:37

Bill_Urick wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 18:35

I have heard from various people the lack of need to actually copyright material.

Anything we have that's remotely worth a s#!t gets a formal copyright.

Tell me I'm stupid.


I can not, sir, and I will not.


Well, OK.

I'll just have to get someone else to.

Any volunteers?

And could you slap me around a little at the same time?




You'll have to do something stupid first. So far it's not happening.


Anything I give a s#!t about gets a copyright. If the writer of "He's So Fine" had a letter addressed to himself would George have paid for the letter?

Ridiculous I know, but still, it's only 35 bucks...
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Bill_Urick

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2009, 06:37:59 am »

Sorry, this must be arguments.
I was looking for abuse.
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Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for everyone thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.

Barry Hufker

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2009, 12:14:11 pm »

Harvey is trying *so hard* to give important information...

To help (instead of hinder as I usually do), here's a link.

http://www.copyright.gov/

Barry


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fiasco ( P.M.DuMont )

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2009, 06:04:04 pm »

Please, continue Harvey.
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Philip

Hank Alrich

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2009, 10:47:11 pm »

Barry Hufker wrote on Thu, 03 September 2009 09:14

Harvey is trying *so hard* to give important information...

To help (instead of hinder as I usually do), here's a link.

http://www.copyright.gov/

Barry





And Harvey is doing a great job. This is a good thread. I don't think it'll be derailed by attempts at humor. (See this is arguments!)

"Your Honor, I did too mail that song to myself. But I couldn't afford registurd male. I read on the innernuts that I could do a poormans copywrite this way. Now you tell Jorge Straight to give me back my song!"

billiard

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2009, 12:01:03 am »

Fiasco wrote on Wed, 02 September 2009 18:14

Perhaps correct, perhaps not, but something I've heard which makes some sense
as far as establishing a time frame for "ownership":

Mail a copy of lyrics, music, some such to yourself.
Having the post marked, unopened parcel certainly sets a pretty concrete time frame.



No.  It certainly does not.

Try presenting that in court.  You may be held in contempt for completely wasting the courts time and clogging the calendar.

What is to prevent someone from mailing an unsealed addressed envelope to themselves and then at some later date, stuffing it with anything they want and sealing it?

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"I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to."   - Elvis Presley

Barry Hufker

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2009, 01:28:08 pm »

Or just as likely, steaming the glue so the sealed envelope opens and the resealing it.

Barry
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: Who Really Owns The Music?
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2009, 11:55:46 am »

The problem with "poor man's copyright" is that it's really easy to demonstrate that it could easily be forged.
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