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Just how do you copywrite?

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(@frankthetank9991)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 18
Topic starter  

What is a fast, easy, very cheap (preferably free) way of copywriting a song in america?
and does it change country to country?

what do you call someone who hangs out with musicians?

a drummer.


   
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

You need to officially register with the proper authority.
There are a number of "inofficial" methods, e.g. the "poor man's copyright", none of which have any legal standing. In the US, you can copyright a number of songs in one go.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

You need to officially register with the proper authority.
There are a number of "inofficial" methods, e.g. the "poor man's copyright", none of which have any legal standing. In the US, you can copyright a number of songs in one go.
https://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=27417&highlight=poor+mans+copyright
https://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12190&start=0

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

In theory, all you need to do is put a copyright symbol on it with the year and your name. That shows you claim the work as your own.

At that point things get sticky.

If someone steals your song, you have to sue them. The first problem you face is a thing lawyers and judges call "standing" - do you actually have a right to sue?

In the US, you don't have that right unless you've filed for a copyright registration. So you have to pay the registration fee before you can file a lawsuit.

The good news here is that a copyright registration is just a formal registration - you can file a copyright registration for a song you wrote last week, last year, or twenty years ago. Once its filed, you can file papers to sue, and off you go to court.

So now you've in court. You've got to prove two things:

A) You wrote the song first. That's a lot easier to prove if the copyright is filed early - the other side can't argue that you created it later than your application date. If you steal a song I wrote in 1975 and I have a 1976 copyright... well, you'll need to show some proof that you wrote yours earlier. If I didn't file for copyright until 2006, I have to come up with other evidence that I created my song before you did, and that can be tough - in the only successful case I've heard about in the past few ears, the original writer had performed it on a television broadcast - broadcast tapes provided proof of the date.

Now if you manage to prove you wrote it first, you still have to prove

B) The other side knew about it. Courts recognize that two people can independently create very similar things. In theory, copyright registration is "constructive notice" - legally, the other side should have known about it.

In practice, it doesn't work that way. The copyright office registers over half a million new claims each year, and you'll still need to prove the other side had access. In practical terms, that means if you didn't have a distributed recording or broadcast, or you didn't personally know the thief (or submit your work to someone who does, like their agent or label), your chances of winning aren't that great - with or without an earlier registration.

I like what Nick said about copyrights a few years ago here: the real problem isn't keeping people from stealing your songs. It's writing songs worth stealing!

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@frankthetank9991)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 18
Topic starter  

haha too true too true
well thanks for clearing it up

what do you call someone who hangs out with musicians?

a drummer.


   
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