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   Author  Topic: Copyright by mail  (Read 1607 times)
Rochelle Lee
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Copyright by mail
« on: Dec 18th, 2005, 9:33pm »
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Is it true that you can mail recorded music or lyrics to yourself via certified mail and that it is considered a legal copyright? if so, will this "copyright" hold up in court?
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Terry McManus
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Re: Copyright by mail
« Reply #1 on: Dec 18th, 2005, 10:26pm »
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Copyright exists in creation. Something is created when it is fixed in a medium from which it can be perceived for more than transitory duration. What that means is that once you record or write down your song, you have copyright. The part you are talking about is commonly called "registration". Registration is used as proof of when the song was created so the sooner you register, the better.  
Yes, you can use what is called the "poor man's copyright" as proof; but it is not very reliable proof. As such, it would be more open to challenge and perhaps it could end up costing you your rightful ownership. That is why I always advise people that if they truly believe they have a valuable copyright, to register it with the LIbrary of Congress. It is not complicated and it is not expensive but it is the "gold standard" when it comes to proof of ownership.
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Isaac
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Re: Copyright by mail
« Reply #2 on: Dec 19th, 2005, 6:54am »
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Are you aware of any case where mailing something to yourself was successfully used as proof?  I'm aware of one case where the evidence was not rejected out of hand, but where the tenderer of the proof still lost.   I could not recommend mailing something to yourself as even unreliable proof.
 
In the US, people creating works in the US have to register their copyrights prior to suing.  
 
One thing to remember about copyright is that proving some early date of creation is not directly important because independent recreation is not infringement.  
 
Instead you need to prove that the infringer had access to your material at the time he was creating the infringing material.  Something mailed privately to yourself in an envelope really does not go very far to prove that since presumably the alleged copier had no access to the envelope.  Meanwhile, a registration is statutorily recognized to create a presumption of the date and fact of ownership.  
 
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Isaac
JSonnabend
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Re: Copyright by mail
« Reply #3 on: Dec 19th, 2005, 8:11am »
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Two corrections/amplifications to Terry's post:  
 
First, copyright registration is not "proof" of ownership, it merely creates a "presumption" of ownership.  
 
Second, in order to sue in federal court (which is the only place one may bring a copyright infringement action), a copyright owner must first register the copyright.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
Brooklyn, USA
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JSonnabend@SonnabendLaw.com
Roger Blakney
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Re: Copyright by mail
« Reply #4 on: Jan 3rd, 2006, 9:15am »
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So how do you contact the Libraryof Congress or obtain the copyright paper work with out all the hassle
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