Copy rights-------Publishers

Discussion in 'Publishing / Marketing' started by eddies880, May 4, 2005.

  1. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    Now that Ive spent hrs and hrs,money,and money! on my recordings,Id like to have copy rights on them---------------then send to publishers-----------------only problem is----------------------I havent a clue :shock: :shock: as to how this process is done :?
    Im sure this questions has been asked several times before,so please,dont dog me too hard :cry:

    This will give you more information on getting the copyrights for your work.
  3. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    U-DA-MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks :cool:
  4. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    just so you know, as soon as you save anything to a standard media format - such as a cd, floppy disk, pen drive, whatever it is considered copywritten in a court of law. For more on copyrights ask and I'll give you the lowdown. :)
  5. "Only if it has a timestamp. Its not actully copyrighted as you can't get any royalties off of it, but it is proof that you did it first in case someone decides to copyright your material for them in their name before you decided to justify the $35 processing fee. Your suggestions follow the same principle at the "Po' Man's Copyright" by sending it to your self in a sealed envelope through the mail system and never open it after receiving it. It will only hold up as POSSIBLE proof of ownership, but it is not copyrighted."

    That's from email correspondence with my attorney who handles all of my musical ventures including songwriting, publishing, engineering, performances, and work-for-hire.
  6. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    THanks for the "smart advise" :wink:
  7. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    I have won cases in court with the timestamps from floppy disks and CD-R's so that is not always the truth. It is not a "Po Man's" copyright. Sending yourself something in the mail will do nothing in a court of law unfortunately. It only proves you put something in the mail before anyone else. Most state statutes require some kind of electronic documentation. I had a case where a band copyrighted a song (with the Library of Congress) that had about a 90% match in composition. I took them to court and brought the .wav files from a Sonar session my band did of the particular song and we won hands down thanks to the windows and operating systems time stamp on the CD-R. I don't want to discourage anyone from getting an official library of congress copyright, that wasnt the intent of my statement. Just wanted to warn you that a Library of Congress copyright still won't hold up every time to a digital media format with a more recent documented time stamp in court. Most standard media formats have these nowadays. So beware. Neither method of copyrighting is any more concrete than the other.
  8. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    So what youre saying is------if I have a final product that Ive burned to a cd via any cd burner or cd recorder,thats one method of having rights on the song?
  9. I'm 50/50 on my cases. It really depends on your judge. If you have a technology savvy judge, then he knows that you can forge timestamps on documents and other computer files. Its not really that hard to do if you know what you are doing. I've lost cases on those grounds simply because I do have a history of a computer crime. Anyway, its still not in stone.

    Also, sending lead sheets and lyrics in the mail WILL hold up in court most of the time. Its failed me only once out of 12 cases. This is why I don't let anyone except those who are closest to me hear my work until I have completed it and secured the rights to it. Also, unless you had the copyrights to the work, any royalties that were due unto you are unlikely to ever be recovered. Also, copyrights don't rely on state law, its governed under federal law, therefore, you statement about "most state statutes require some kind of electronic documentation" is false.

    Under U.S. Law, you are not entitled to any royalties unless your work is registered and the copyrights are secured with the Library of Congress. To register a work with a publisher, you have to have your Copyright ID number. To give a mechanical license to an artist for your work, you have to have a Copyright ID number. Many people get screwed by publishers because they choose to let the publisher take advantage of them by not registering the work prior to presentation to the publisher.

    "If someone else registers your work and you decide to take them to court using dated evidence that you created it first, you have to also be able to provide credible witnesses of your creation and/or performances of the said work." - More from my attorney

    I'm going to assume you didn't mean it as you said it, but when you plot your statement as a timeline, you are saying that if the Library of Congress copyright registration is older than your digital media, then the digital media wins.

    Also, just a technical note, Windows (nor any operating system for that matter) actually writes the timestamp with a date. The timestamp is written in 4 bytes of binary to represent a date starting with January 1, 1980. There's easy measures you can take to circumvent an accurate timestamp being written.

    Also, I register my works at least 6 months in advance usually to avoid any discrepancies. And back to the part about changing timestamps: I've won with that argument once. My attorney basically said "The defendant has more of an education in computers than my client. If my client can do it, what's to say he can't?" Note, I am not trying to imply that I stole a work because I didn't, what I am saying is that sometimes you just have to tell a judge that there are possibilities. (By the way, the guy had forged the timestamp. He wasn't too bright either. His timestamp was Sept. 9, 2001 and part of the lyrics talked about the WTC attacks on Sept. 11. We didn't think about that until after we had won, but that sure would've cut it down from 6 hours to 5 minutes.)

    If you want to publish your work, then you need it to be copyrighted through the Library of Congress or you will be unable to receive any royalties.
  10. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    Yeah when I wrote that line i thought it would be misunderstood. I mean that a Library of Congress copyright isn't a 100% failsafe. It won't hold up to most prior-dated. time-stamped media - and I don't mean the save date that any hacker can alter. I'm talking the embed information.
  11. That's what I'm talking about altering ("embedded" information). Its low-level. You basically trick the computer into writing a different timestamp, but you have to understand how the timestamp system works. Nothing in computers is really embedded in the sense that its there and nothing can be done about it by the user without special tools. There is always a way. But anyway, that's for a whole different post and (possibly) forum. This is starting to make me get borderline to violating my probation (where I actually end up telling you how its done instead of keeping it vague). I'm allowed to talk about these things, just not specifics. When I said "easy measures" I kinda forgot I wasn't talking to a field of ASM programmers. Actually, if you don't understand ASM, there's no way that I know of to do it. (ASM is programming at the hardware level, like telling the write heads on a hard disk what to write and where to write and calling things from memory from their specific address rather than having the program index and search.)
  12. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    Man-------------------you guys are really confusing me now,,
    I already have a cd of my work----so basically,all I have to do is fill out the SR form and send it in?----correct?
  13. Sorry to confuse you.

    What RAIN0707 is saying is true in that the timestamp does provide evidence that you came up with it first. However, since you want to send your work to publishers, you still need to register your work with the Library of Congress in order to receive all due royalties and not get screwed by the publisher. Publishers need copyright id numbers not only for verification, but accounting as well. Publishers are supposed to pay your royalties (unless you are a member of an organization such as ASCAP or BMI where they handle the accounting and give the writers and publishers each their fair share) and in order to do so they must have proof of your ownership of the work. A copyright is like the deed to your house, in a sense. It proves you own it, and you can also sell it off at any time too. The digital timestamp (if you are using digital media at all... unlike me...) is like the picture that says you completed the construction, but the copyright is the deed that says you own it.

    Basically, if you want to be paid in a fair and just way for your works, you need to register the work with the Library of Congress.
  14. dwnturn

    dwnturn Guest

    Sorry to jump in but the question is somewhat on topic.
    I am confused about who constitutes as "Publisher". I thought ASCAP and BMI were publishers. Do record company's act as publishers then?
    Am I right in assuming that record company's may not always function as publishers?
  15. ASCAP and BMI are groups (union isn't the word, although they do perform like them in that they represent you in claims regarding your rights) that make sure your royalties are paid out they way they are supposed to be. To give you an example, I am personally protected by ASCAP as a writer. My lyricist is also protected by ASCAP as a writer, but has his own publishing company which is protected by ASCAP.

    In order for an artist to legally perform a song written by an ASCAP member, each performance must be reported to ASCAP. Then royalties are paid to ASCAP. ASCAP then sends 50% to the publisher and the other 50% is distributed to the writers. Basically, let's say you decide to perform one of my songs on a CD of yours. You decide to have 1000 copies of the CD pressed. At $0.085 SMR per song, you pay $85.00 in royalties to be able to use that song (as per the Mechanical License, of course). What happens is you actually pay ASCAP, and ASCAP sends $42.50 to my publisher. Then, if my lyricist and I wrote the song equally (as in he only wrote the lyrics and I only wrote the music), ASCAP will send $21.25 to each of us. If I helped him on the lyrics, then the split would be HIM: 17%; ME: 33%; PUBLISHER: 50%. That means that he would get $14.45, I would get $28.05, and the publisher would still get $42.50. Note, he set up the publishing company so that we would control where the money went in relation to marketing and production of our music. That 50% is actually split 3 ways between him, me, and the operations of the business. He is very trustworthy (a youth minister) so I know that I'm not being cheated there either.

    Basically, ASCAP makes sure you get paid fairly. Same thing with BMI.
  16. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    So----------------------do I fill out the SR form----or do I fill out the PA form??.
  17. SR == sound recording, PA == Performance Arts

    You will want SR unless you are copyrighting the performance (e.g. a live album).
  18. eddies880

    eddies880 Guest

    Thanks Brain,I copied the SR from the web,just have to fill it out and send it in?-----along with the cd?????
  19. Yes, along with the processing fee of course. The Library of Congress website tells you complete directions.
  20. Steve Halko

    Steve Halko Guest

    Form PA is used to copyright a song which you wrote - the lyrics, the melody etc.

    Form SR is used to copyright the recording itself - the actual physical CD.

    So you need to use both forms.

    As an example, if you make a CD with 11 songs on it, and you wrote ten of them, and there's one cover song.

    You need 10 Form PA - one for each song you wrote.
    You need 1 Form SR for the CD.
    You need to obtain 1 mechanical license and pay royalties for the cover song - you do this through the Harry Fox Agency - not ASCAP or BMI.
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