How do you copyright music?


hunter1801
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
hunter1801
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
10/29/2010 8:45 pm
We (my band) are getting serious in terms of the business side of things and we want to start protecting our music and getting things ready for when we put an album out.

What do we need to do to copyright our songs? What about artwork? Any tips from people who have been down this road?
# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,354
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,354
10/29/2010 10:02 pm
Originally Posted by: hunter1801What do we need to do to copyright our songs? What about artwork? Any tips from people who have been down this road?

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

The Library Of Congress is the only legally authentic holder of copyrights in the US & the final authority in any matter concerning copyrights.

You should also consider joining ASCAP or BMI if you know your stuff is going to be in any distribution.

http://www.ascap.com/

http://www.bmi.com/
Christopher Schlegel
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# 2
JStewart
I Walk the Line
Joined: 07/10/08
Posts: 76
JStewart
I Walk the Line
Joined: 07/10/08
Posts: 76
10/30/2010 3:42 pm
I do not know a lot about your music but I do know about your art. I am a software systems engineer by trade so I have to know this stuff. Your art is considered copyrighted the second it is saved to any storage medium. I would suggest if you are serious and lack the means yourself to hire a graphic artist to watermark your artwork so you can prove it is your creation if you ever need to go to court. Basically it works like this, the creator has 5 rights under copyright law:
1. The right to produce the copyrighted work
2. The right to prepare derivative works based upon the work
3. The right to distribute copies of the work to the public
4. The right to perform the copyrighted work publicly
5. The right to display the copyrighted work publicly

If any of those 5 rights are violated you can sue for damages. More info on artwork copyright can be found at:

Bitlaw. (1996). Web Site Legal Issues. Retrieved from http://www.bitlaw.com/internet/webpage.html
God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says, “Out on Highway 61”
# 3
hunter1801
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Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
hunter1801
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
10/31/2010 1:19 am
copyright.gov got really confusing. Not sure what documents I need or category I fall under. As far as the whole "it's copywriten when it is in a tangible form" I knew about that before, but the more I read it seems that it is not as strong as a "real" copyright. As in a registered one. One site described it as the poor man's copyright method, but if you want to have the courts really behind you, going through the legal steps is advised.
# 4
JStewart
I Walk the Line
Joined: 07/10/08
Posts: 76
JStewart
I Walk the Line
Joined: 07/10/08
Posts: 76
10/31/2010 6:18 pm
Some site's may call it a poor mans copyright but it will hold up in court. If you still wish to go through the hoops of filing for a paper copyright then you must do the following:

Create a "best edition" of your image, as defined by the Copyright Office. In its Circular 7B (Best Edition of Published Copyrighted Works for the Collection of the Library of Congress), the office gives specifications as to what it considers to be a "best edition." For example, if you're copyrighting a photograph, the office prefers the most widely distributed edition of your material. If your work is not distributed, an 8-inch by 10-inch glossy will suffice. The picture should be unmounted and on archival-quality paper. After you register on the Electronic Copyright Office (eCO), you'll mail your hard copy to the Library of Congress.

Create an electronic file of your image. Many file types are acceptable. Make sure your file is not too large. The eCO permits files of up to 11.3 MB in size to be uploaded through a typical 56 Kbps modem or a 405 MB if your network connection uses fiber-optic cable. You'll upload this file when you register online.

Access the eCO by going to the Copyright Office's homepage at Copyright.gov. You'll fill out an electronic application that gives your name, birth date, contact number, the title of your image and other pertinent information. You'll be cued to upload the electronic file of your image. After you do, your payment information will be requested so you can pay the registration fee. The office accepts credit and debit cards, as well as electronic drafts.

Remember to mail your hard copy to the Library of Congress. It is recommended you use a mailing box instead of an envelope to send your images so they won't get damaged en route.

Wait for your certificate of copyright to arrive through the mail. According to the Copyright Office, 90 percent of people who register online receive their certificate within six months of registration.


The fees are pretty steep if you plan on doing this very often somewhere in the neighborhood of $65 per image if I remember right. We stopped filing for these in 2001 since the court system upholds proprietary rights of creators.

http://www.ehow.com/how_5078848_copyright-image.html
God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says, “Out on Highway 61”
# 5

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