Preregistering Your Copyright With The Us Copyright Office
What Is The Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works . It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, even in the absence of actual infringement. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the internet by extending the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of on-line services for copyright infringement by their users.
As an artist, copyright-holder, or blogger, Â§ 512 of the DMCA will likely be the most relevant to you. The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act sets forth safe harbor provisions which exempt online service providers from liability for copyright infringement by their users, provided they meet certain criteria. The OCILLA outlines notification and takedown procedures regarding the infringing work in question, as well as counter-notification procedures. From a practical standpoint, these three categories are the most important for you to become familiar with.
How Do I Research Who Owns A Copyright
1. The Copyright Reference and Bibliography Section at the Library of Congress Copyright Office can research the copyright status of a song. The more detailed information you can furnish with your request, the less expensive the search will be. Please provide as much of the following information as possible:
The title of the work, with any possible variants
The names of the authors, including possible pseudonyms
The name of the probable copyright owner, which may be the publisher or producer
The approximate year when the work was published or registered
The type of work involved
For a work originally published as a part of a periodical or collection, the title of that publication and any other information, such as the volume or issue number, to help identify it
The registration number or any other copyright data
Motion pictures are often based on other works such as books or serialized contributions to periodicals or other composite works. If you desire a search for an underlying work or for music from a motion picture, you must specifically request such a search. You must also identify the underlying works and music and furnish the specific titles, authors, and approximate dates of these works.
2. Files are subdivided by “year period”. Records begin in the year 1790. The card catalog filing system began in 1870. Recent year periods for songs include 1955-1970, 1971-1977, and 1978-1993.
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Creating And Understanding Your Free Copyright
The Process To Copyright Your Music
The process of copyrighting music is the same as for any kind of copyrighted work. That is, it begins with the initial stage of submitting your copyright application to the Registrar of Copyrights in your country.
Step 1:Make sure you record your song in a Tangible Medium that is in written form or on a taped/digital sound recording)Step 2: Register for An Account at the Copyright Office Website in your country. For India, you can register here: India Copyright registration.Step 3: Fill out the Copyright Registration ApplicationStep 4: Pay the Registration FeeStep 5: Submit a Copy of Your SongStep 6: Formality CheckTo ensure that the basic requirements have been completed, a formality check may take place. If an application, fails the Formality Check, the Copyright office generates a letter addressed to the applicant requesting him/her to for furnish the necessary requirements. Step 7: Wait for Your Registration to Be Processed
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Can I Really Use Eight Notes From A Song Without A License
No you must always obtain a license in order to use any sampled material for a commercial purpose. Many musicians believe that they may sample 4, 5 or 8 notes or bars of music without infringing any copyrights, but this is a myth. The length of a particular audio sample is not relevant in determining whether or not you must seek a license for its commercial use. Also, whether or not the sampled audio is easily recognizable does not matter if your source audio was taken from another artist and you did not obtain a license, you are infringing that artistâs copyright. Contrary to what many believe, samples are not billed on a per-second basis. Instead, the overall impact of the sample along with all relevant commercial factors , are evaluated on a case-by-case basis in order to determine damages in the event of an infringement claim.
Understand The Two ‘sides’ Of Copyright: Master & Publishing
So youve secured yourself a timestamped copy of your tune. But what exactly have you got control of copyright-wise?
The copyright landscape is complex.
Royalties for songwriters divide between music and lyrics and can be split further between several co-writers, not to mention a cut for the labels, publishers, collection agencies, distributors, etc.
The key thing to note is that every piece of recorded music has two sides to its copyright: ones called the Publishing – the underlying musical composition – and ones called the Master – the specific sound recording.
The former is held by the songwriters/lyricists/composers and generally managed by or signed away to publishers. The latter is held by the recording artist and/or their label.
The industry treats these two parts of copyright separately, with the copyright in the song itself shown with a and the copyright in the sound recording shown, somewhat confusingly, with a – dont get mixed up: remember the P stands for phonograph not publishing, and not performance nor performing arts!
These copyrights are kept separate, even though in many cases the writer and performer is the same person/group, for when sometime down the line cover versions of the song start appearing, or people start sampling the recording, quoting the lyrics, etc.
It can all get incredibly complicated and keeping the publishing and master copyrights separate helps to iron out any potential legal creases.
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What Is Music Copyright
Copyright signifies the ownership of intellectual property by a person or group.
Music copyright also grants certain exclusive rights to the owner, one of the most important being the right to earn money from that intellectual property. This is called exploiting your copyright. Well get into that more later.
Sync Rights Kinda Sorta Apply To Youtube Too
Sync licensing also applies to YouTube videos of cover songs. So if a YouTuber records a cover of your song and wants to post the video, the mechanical license they acquired to distribute a recording of that song does not cover them for the video. Theyll need to secure a sync license from you.
But lets be clear: MOST people on YouTube are not getting sync licenses for the music they use. Thats why YouTube developed Content ID.When some YouTube sensation doesnt want to clear the sync rights with you directly, they can upload their video and allow YouTube to place a claim on their video via Content ID.
And this doesnt just work for cover songs, but your recordings too. If someone put your track behind their wedding highlights video, youll earn ad revenue.
If you opted in for Social Video Monetization with CD Baby well send your song to YouTube and add it into their Content ID database. That will automatically catch any use of your song in a video and monetize it accordingly. YouTube ads can add up to real revenue, so even if this person does not clear the sync license, youll be earning money from their video.
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Music Publishing Royalties Collection
For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.
Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.
To learn if Songtrust is right for you, Id recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.
And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, Id recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price.
When To Use Form Pa
For registration purposes, musical compositions and dramatic works that are recorded on disks or cassettes are works of the performing arts and should be registered on Form PA or Short Form PA. Therefore, if you wish to register only the underlying work that is a musical composition or dramatic work, use Form PA even though you may send a disk or cassette.
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How Do Copyrights Patents And Trademarks Differ
Its worth noting that copyrighting your music is only one step in protecting your work. For instance, registering your works with a PRO is also important. You also need to know that copyrighting your music isnt the same as getting a patent or a trademark.
In the United States, copyright protects original works of authorship, including musical, literary, and artistic creations such as songs and albums. A patent, meanwhile, protects inventions. If you invented a new form of musical instrument, for example, you might consider getting a patent for it, but a song doesnt qualify. And a trademark is a recognizable symbol, word or words, such as a brand name, but again, music isnt covered.
Patent and trademark arent interchangeable with copyrighttheyre three different legal concepts. To protect your music, you should copyright it.
What Is Copyright Infringement
If a copyright owner believes that one of their protected works has been infringed upon by another, this other party could potentially be liable for copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is shown by the owner proving ownership of a valid copyright in the allegedly infringed work and an actionable copying by the infringing party of the works original and essential elements.
Ownership of work is generally demonstrated by the presentation of a validly issued copyright certificate from the U.S. Copyright Office or some other documentation proving that the party owns the work at issue. Copying of a work is typically supported either by direct or indirect evidence. Since direct evidence showing proof of copying is rare, a copyright owner must instead rely on indirect evidence to proof that the infringing party had access to the allegedly infringed work and that there are probative similarities between the original work and the allegedly infringing work. A more extensive discussion of the copyright infringement is outside the scope of this text.
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Music Under Creative Commons Licenses
If youve downloaded the music from a website that offers free royalty-free music, its most likely that the music falls under one of the many Creative Commons licenses. You might want to read the section on licenses carefully to get acquainted with any restrictions that you might have when using this music.
After You Copyright Your Music
If youve submitted your works online, you will receive an email fairly quickly stating that the process has begun. The time it takes to go from start to finish of processing your works varies at times through the year. Ive received my official paperwork in as little as 4 weeks and have waited up to 7 months. You can check here for current wait times.
But! Remember that the entire time your works are protected and safe for you to play, record, upload, etc. You dont need to wait for your paperwork to arrive before using your songs.
You feeling ready to go and copyright your songs now? Did you know that it was that simple to do? And most importantly, can you pinky promise me that you will do this asap to make sure that your songs are protected?
Id love to know if this article was helpful for making sure you know what to do for songs and copyright. Let me know in the comments below!
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How To Copyright Music: Protect Your Music
Why Do I Need to Know How to Copyright My Music? Dont I Already Own It?
You need to know how to copyright music because you dont own your music until you do. Technically, yes you do own the copyright of your song simply by writing it. But, registering it with the copyright office legally acknowledges the date of the creation of your song.
What does that Mean?
Say you wrote a song and someone stole it and got it copyrighted. A month later, you submitted the song to get copyrighted. Well, since the other person submitted it first, they own the rights to your song.
Also, without legally copyrighting your music, you cannot take anyone to court for using your music. This is why you need to know how to copyright music! There are specific exclusive rights that your copyright will include.
Musical Copyright Gives the Composer these Exclusive Rights:
- Derivative Works: The right to create derivative works.
- Public Performance: The right to perform the song.
- Distribution: The right to distribute the song.
- Reproduction: The right to reproduce the song.
Musical Copyright Does Not Include:
- Chord progressions
- Short phrases
Every Recorded Piece Has Two Separate Copyrights
- The Composition of the music. This includes the songs music and lyrics. The songwriter and/or publisher own this copyright.
- The particular sound recording of a song. The artist and/or label own this copyright.
How to Copyright Music:
When Should I Copyright My Music?
How Much Will a Copyright Cost?
What Are Defenses To Copyright Infringement
There are a variety of defenses to copyright infringement. One defense is that the subsequent use is a fair use and does not infringe any of the copyright owners exclusive rights. Such exempted fair uses may include ones for educational purposes, for comment or criticism on a particular work, for news reporting on a work, and for parody of an existing work.
This Survival Guide is not intended as legal advice, as an attorney specializing in the field should be consulted.
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Why Independent Songwriters Should Register The Copyright For Their Music
Please Note: This article discusses opinions on copyrighting your music and should not be considered legal advice. If youre unsure about how the copyright laws in your country will affect you, please contact a lawyer before proceeding.
When you submit a song for copyright youre simply proving the date of submission of your work. The fine folks of the copyright office dont sit around listening to every submission to see if theyve heard it before. That would be an impossible task. When you write or record your song, technically, youve created it and thus you own the copyright to it.
Why Would I Want To Register My Copyright
When your content is stolen or misused, your first thought may be to take legal action. The first question you may be asked is, Did you register with the Copyright Office? Thats because when you register, you have the ultimate leverage.
According to updated regulations, you must register with the U.S. Copyright Office before you can file a lawsuit. Other types of registrations or mailing your music to yourself are not substitutes for USCO registration. Early registration can grant you a large payout up to $150,000 per infringement PLUS your legal fees, but only if you register before your music is stolen or misused.
Receive up to $200-$30,000
per work .
Registering with the U.S. Copyright Office is one of the most important actions you can take and its something that you should want to do shortly after or before your music is released.
A registered work is your only ticket into court and it will carry a lot more weight than a sealed package, a Soundcloud link, or beer-soaked napkin.
In the USA, youd want to register your copyright with the US Copyright Office, part of the Library of Congress.
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