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Copyrighting your music?


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I apologize in advance if this is not the right place to post this question.

 

So I have recently finished a project and am getting ready to release it publicly. My question is: by publishing the work on Youtube/soundcloud/iTunes/any media with a timestamp: does that qualify as a copyright?

 

When you purchase a copyright from the actual government office, you're essentially purchasing a timestamp for your work. Doesn't publishing an original work that no one has, on social media that have timestamps for everything, essentially count as the same thing?

 

Will I be protected?

 

Thanks everyone,

 

 

YG

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I'm not a lawyer but I believe technically once you record/write your music it gets copyrighted immediately. I don't think you need to pay a lawyer to copyright your music although I'm sure it wouldn't hurt.

 

Another thing you may want to consider doing is registering your music on a PRO (Performing Rights Organisation). It's free to join a PRO in your country. E.g. BMI, ASCAP, SOCAN etc.

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Thanks ya'll.

 

I know LP forum isn't necessarily the ideal place to look for legal advice but it's good to hear inputs from other musicians/artists/producers!

 

If anyone else has other opinions please voice them! Our works are our babies! :mrgreen:

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My question is: by publishing the work on Youtube/soundcloud/iTunes/any media with a timestamp: does that qualify as a copyright?

 

When you purchase a copyright from the actual government office, you're essentially purchasing a timestamp for your work. Doesn't publishing an original work that no one has, on social media that have timestamps for everything, essentially count as the same thing?

 

Will I be protected?

 

Well... David pretty much nailed it but --since you seem to be asking for more-- I'll see if I can restate it.

 

I don't think qualify as a copyright is quite the right way to think of it. Publishing via digital media may go toward proving that you created the work but... The bottom line is this; No matter what you do to protect your work, if things "get legal" it's likely going to come down to a judge and perhaps a jury, period. And no kind of evidence is going to get you out of it. Of course, the more solid the evidence to prove your case the better, but it will come down to proving it to others. And in the USA a registered copyright is mandatory prior to pursuing legal action (I think). [And don't get me started on the incredibly poor finding over the recent Marvin Gaye estate vs. Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke lawsuit. Oops... Too late... I'm started...]

 

Unfortunately, copyright is one of the most misunderstood concepts among songwriters.

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Correct, recording/writing music on a tangible media means it's copyrighted. The issue is with convincing a judge that you own the copyright in case you ever have to go to court: that's where registering your copyright with the government may help.

 

This

 

BTW - I am an attorney :)

 

- Steve

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......in the USA a registered copyright is mandatory prior to pursuing legal action (I think).

 

That is correct

 

Here also is a link to a .pdf of a legal summary on the subject:

 

http://www.whitecase.com/files/Publication/0c3e727d-4944-4529-80d9-81b79d3a7bff/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/8dff9d5a-d6ff-4039-bdf5-83bf7e7e25cb/Legal-Requirements-for-Bringing-Copyright-Infringement-Lawsuit.pdf

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The business end of music always feels complete with an official copyright.

 

If finances are an issue... for US Copyright, sound recordings can be copyrighted as a set of collected works for a very slightly larger fee. If memory serves, it's $35 for a single song and $50 for a collection. A few months ago I copyrighted 11 songs for the larger fee. The government indicated it would take up to 8 months to get my copyright. It came in less than two.

 

Applying for the copyright is all done online now. The process is a bit tedious but works smoothly once you get the hang of it.

 

Different song versions (different recordings) should probably have their own copyright. (I say this in light of the legal Marvin vs. Pharrell case—and from an earlier post where someone said a copyright is necessary for legal action.) If a song is arranged and recorded as a ballad and later as an uptempo piece, I'd copyright both.

 

This enters into a slightly larger arena. Let's say you write and record the song yourself. You should copyright it. Let's say a buddy (or a stranger) also records a version. He/she has the right to copyright the song recording, too, but is obligated to list you (the writer) as the songwriter. The copyright protects the recording (and his/her right to sell it). However, the PRO is where the songwriting and publishing royalty money get distributed. So... any recording released for human consumption should also be registered with ASCAP/BMI/SESAC (your country's mileage may vary).

 

There is a lot written on the PRO topic on other forums. One school of thought is to not even register with one until you've got real market presence... to leave your options open... but I'm wandering quite a bit off-topic. My apologies.

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My question is: by publishing the work on Youtube/soundcloud/iTunes/any media with a timestamp: does that qualify as a copyright?

 

It is a blurred line when it comes to ownership.

 

Unless it is some form of 'fair use' type of usage, you must own the copyright before you do anything with the 'work.'

 

Once you create an original work, you own the copyright. At this point of creation, there is no evidence that you are the creator. Posting the work on social media will require you to be the owner of the work prior to uploading and you agree to terms that state you are, in fact, the owner.

 

Even if you are the owner, AND you have all the proper copyright, AND you show all the proper notifications that you are the owner … does not mean that after your work has become a major success that embellishes your bank account with millions of dollars, that Marvin Gayes family will somehow claim that you infringed upon his songs and seek to take your money.

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