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Should I copyright my songs?

General discussion forum for independent music publishers.

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Should I copyright my songs?

Postby jahzoone » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:53

Hi,

I was wondering if I should copyright my songs or will my publisher take care of this for me?
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Re: Should I copyright my songs?

Postby ahh OM » Sun Mar 01, 2009 13:51

Hi Jahzoone,

Let me start with some copyright background. In the United States, copyright law says that as soon as a work is completed, signed and dated by the composer(s) it is considered to be copyrighted and is subject to all protections provided by copyright law. That said, it's still a good idea to attain a copyright certificate from the United States Copyright Office.

Since a work is is technically protected after the work has been completed, signed and dated, you might ask why do I need a copyright certificate at all. The answer is the certificate offers another layer of proof that can be used in court to prove you created the work and when you claim to have created it.

Another way to prove you created a work and document the date you created it is to make a copy of the material, put it in an envelope, wrap it tightly with packing tape (several layers, so anyone looking at the package can obviously tell it has never been opened) and mail it to yourself. The postmark will officially document the date the work was sent and the fact that the package has never been opened documents the authenticity of the work itself.

Again this just adds another layer of proof that you are indeed the original creator of the work, should anybody want to challenge this claim in a court of law. The more layers of proof the author can provide to the court the harder it will be for the plaintiff to show otherwise.

So that's what a copyright is all about. Now to your question in particular, "Should I copyright my songs?". The answer is, Yes you should. In fact your publisher can copyright your material, but only as an authorized agent, unless you have signed over your rights or it was a work for hire. In which case you were presumably paid for the work and he owns the copyright.

I suggest artists copyright their work through the Library Of Congress, no matter what anybody else does or says they're going to do. It's not hard and it's not that expensive. Here's a link to the web site http://www.copyright.gov/. Don't forget you can submit Compilations, which dramatically reduce the cost by copyrighting large numbers of works in a single submission.
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Re: Should I copyright my songs?

Postby sing14ya » Tue Mar 03, 2009 14:36

Hi,

I agree with ahh Om, you should definitely copyright your songs! Here's another method I like to use with my own songs, in addition to the copyright. I burn 10 or 20 CD's of the song or compilation that I submitted to the copyright office and pass them around to my family and friends. Now, not only do you have additional copies of the work floating around, you have a group of people who can testify on your behalf that you gave them this CD and when you gave it to them. Not to mention the added advantage of getting feedback about the song(s) from people you know and trust.
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Re: Should I copyright my songs?

Postby ahh OM » Tue Mar 17, 2009 16:03

I found an article on the web that I thought was very helpful. It really spoke to your question in detail, here's the link: http://www.alankorn.com/articles/reg_copyright.html
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Re: Should I copyright my songs?

Postby onlinejack » Mon Mar 29, 2010 07:08

It should be legal. And if it's not, then you guys are gonna be some bamfs up in jail
:lol:



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Re: Should I copyright my songs?

Postby Foster555 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:24

It is important to copyright songs so that it can be considered legal and can be considered your own compositions. Copyrighting is like patenting a product. It is also safe to copyright because your songs can't be imitated by others. And if they hesitate imitate, for sure you can file a case against them and the law is on your side. :)
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