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(Message started by: 6laurent on Jun 24th, 2005, 2:05pm)

Title: song copyright
Post by 6laurent on Jun 24th, 2005, 2:05pm

 Is simply registering the lyrics or 'poem' of a song an effective way of protecting it?   With no formal musical training I do not know how to write music.  And since I've already had one song  adopted by an artist and recorded with no mention of me, I'm very paranoid about going to someone and having a taped song transcribed.  Could someone take my copyrighted lyrics, make a few changes and claim the whole as their own ?

Title: Re: song copyright
Post by Isaac Clark on Jun 24th, 2005, 6:48pm
Registration allows you to go to court to defend your copyright
if you are not willing or able to do that, the registration
gives you a certificate which you can frame.

Title: Re: song copyright
Post by ativan on Jun 26th, 2005, 9:53am
To answer your question, someone taking your copyrighted lyrics, making a few changes and then claiming the whole as their own ? is not legaly right.

To make changes, the must have permission from u in the first place.


Title: Re: song copyright
Post by ringo on Jun 26th, 2005, 3:56pm
Copyright is automatic at the moment you create any text, lyrics, music or any written work - even source code. But the point of registering is being able to prove it was in your possession in the first place.

I found a quick way of registering work in this modern day is via internet through a digital notary. There are not a lot but one that is international and not expensive is www.music-reg.com. The evidence of registration can be proved in a matter of seconds and if you have a conflict they will present the evidence in a court of law anywhere in the world, free. There are not a lot of companies who offer a service like that anymore – but I suppose they do it for the publicity. But still, not a bad service!




Title: Re: song copyright
Post by Isaac Clark on Jun 26th, 2005, 5:04pm
What would be the advantage to registering using such a service in the
US?  Registering with the copyright office is at least as valuable
in court, and US citizens cannot file a suit in a US court without
first registering the work with the copyright office.

As far as the international benefit, is there reason to believe that
registering with a commercial service would be more accepted than
presenting a US registration?

Title: Re: song copyright
Post by mactheknife on Jun 27th, 2005, 7:18am
As I work at the C.O., let me say a few words about registration for the original poster and anyone who might be interested.

(1) We are NOT the copyright police!  Sorry, we don't send bolts of lightning from the sky to strike down would-be infringers.  We don't even arrest or sue people.  All we do, as far as registration goes, is make a public record of your claim.  As of now, that record is a facsimile of your application.  So if you send in an application with coffee stains on it, if they're dark enough, those stains will be in the public record for all eternity!  ;D  As Mr. Clark has stated, it is kind of your "ticket" into court, and there are a few minor benefits aside from that that most people won't ever deal with.  But the certificate will not protect you by itself (well, maybe if it grows arms and legs and learns kung-fu)  ;D

(2) A word about these internet services such as legalzoom.com, registermycopyright.com, and such: DON'T USE THEM! EVER!  Here's why: a copyright form costs $30 for you to file yourself.  These websites basically take what you tell them, more or less word for word, and transfer it onto a form that you can get at your library or download from our website, and charge you an extra $60 or so for doing this.  They're not any more accurate than what you could come up with yourself, so why waste your money?

Title: Re: song copyright
Post by JSonnabend on Jun 27th, 2005, 7:49am
Mr. Knife, truer words have rarely been said.  I'm not sure who "Ringo" is, but he's (she's) given some bad advice so far in the two posts of his (her's) that I've read today.  

In the end, the best advice anyone can give around here is "talk to an attorney".  If the attorney is good and honest, he'll steer you to the copyright office website for simple registrations.  I do that routinely, although some clients still prefer that I handle the registration process for them, which is fine as well.

- Jeff

Title: Re: song copyright
Post by ringo on Jul 5th, 2005, 2:36am
To verify a few points regarding the song copyright:

Mactheknife said -  from the C.O. All we do, as far as registration goes, is make a public record of your claim.  

That is exactly what a digital registration service does - except they do not make it public - UNLESS - the person who registers the work wants to make it public, and that is not always the case. Music, indeed in most cases, but in other areas of IP such as business plans, software development - whereby you do not want people to see the 'core' of your work but do want to prove in a court of law it is yours should it be stolen.

Mactheknife said -  it is kind of your "ticket" into court, and there are a few minor benefits aside from that that most people won't ever deal with.  

An online registration is no different and these services do not claim otherwise.

Mactheknife said -  But the certificate will not protect you by itself

A certificate of registration is just another word that you have a piece of paper (or email) to say that it is registered. The CO also gives you proof of registration?

Mactheknife said -  a copyright form costs $30 for you to file yourself.  These websites basically take what you tell them, more or less word for word, and transfer it onto a form that you can get at your library or download from our website, and charge you an extra $60 or so for doing this.  They're not any more accurate than what you could come up with yourself, so why waste your money?

I suggest that Macktheknife does a little more research before he starts to making wild accusations. First of all the registration service I referred to costs $20 membership and $7 to register a song, lyrics whatever. If I register 30 songs with the Copyright Office it will cost me $900. If I register these with music-reg.com it will cost me $230. Also if you had 30 songs that you wanted to register at the same time in one zip file, the total cost would add up to $27. Music-Reg does not charge to verify the registration which can be done 24/7.

I can also register online any format (MP3, AV, exe...) that can be any size (no size limit) again 24/7.

The registration system is designed to fall under US ESIGN law, and European Union law in relation to Digital Signatures - which means that this system of registration can be used in a court of law, even in Brazil, China... and all other countries who have implemented these laws. Furthermore should you have a conflict in ANY country they will provide the evidence of your registration FREE. Will the Copyright office do that for you? Don't think so!

Isaac Clark said - What would be the advantage to registering using such a service in the US?  Registering with the copyright office is at least as valuable in court, and US citizens cannot file a suit in a US court without first registering the work with the copyright office.

I was led to believe that you automatically obtained legal copyright the moment you created a creative work! The only problem is proving 'when' the creative work existed, and 'who' conceived it! Recently there was a case whereby a songwriter filed a case against Britney Spears for breach of copyright. He had used - what is known in the trade as a 'poor mans copyright', he posted the lyrics to himself in a sealed self addressed envelope. So you can't file a suit without registering with the Copyright Office? If you can provide "irrefutable proof" your work existed at a certain moment in time - as you can with the online services - then of course this would be accepted. Maybe you mean that the registration does have to occur on American soil? The Music-Reg.com registration servers are in New Jersey (I checked) and in Europe.

Even the USPTO had in 1999 ruled on the 'Admissibility of Electronic Records' see:http://www.foley.com/publications/pub_detail.aspx?pubid=608

There are of course rules and regulations related to the online registration of data, this is stated in the ruling. Even the FDA has rules and regulations in regard to Electronic Records and Electronic Signatures. The system music-reg.com use falls within the guidelines, and apart from that it is part of a company - File-Reg International - that does also online registration of all other types of IP such as scientific data etc etc etc, and as I mentioned has registration servers on different continents

I'm not here to advertise these online services but I do think they are not only a step ahead of the traditional methods, but light years!

Looking forward to your reactions, replies -  ;) Ringo – hoping to be a star!

Title: Re: song copyright
Post by Isaac Clark on Jul 5th, 2005, 6:12pm
I would hope that noone would seriously consider Ringo's advice, but because he addressed me personally, I'm want to make it clear that I think he/she is out to lunch.

From Section 411 of Title 17:

     (a) Except for an action brought for a violation of the rights of the author under section 106A(a), and subject to the provisions of subsection (b), no action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title.  In    any case, however, where the deposit, application, and fee required for registration have been delivered to the Copyright Office in proper form and registration has been refused, the applicant is entitled to institute an action for infringement if notice thereof, with a copy of the complaint, is served on the Register of Copyrights.

The Register may, at his or her option, become a party to the action with respect to the issue of registrability of the copyright claim by entering an appearance within sixty days after such service, but the Register's failure to become a party shall not deprive the court of jurisdiction to determine that issue.
     
(b) In the case of a work consisting of sounds, images, or both, the first fixation of which is made simultaneously with its transmission, the copyright owner may, either before or after such fixation takes place, institute an action for infringement under   section 501, fully subject to the remedies provided by sections 502 through 506 and sections 509 and 510, if, in accordance with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation, the copyright owner -
       (1) serves notice upon the infringer, not less than 48 hours before such fixation, identifying the work and the specific time and source of its first transmission, and declaring an intention to secure copyright in the work; and
      (2) makes registration for the work, if required by subsection (a), within three months after its first transmission.

I'd be happy to address any ambiguities that appear in the statute, but I think the requirement to register *with the Copyright Office* before going to court is quite clear. (at least for US citizens creating works within the US).

Additionally, I cannot allow the apparent advice to rely on the "poor man's copyright" to go unchallenged.   Don't try to use mailing to yourself as any kind of proof of authorship of inventorship.  

Isaac

Title: Re: song copyright
Post by JSonnabend on Jul 5th, 2005, 11:01pm
Isaac, you're 100% correct, but why bother arguing with the likes of Ringo or Sagebrushfire (an apparent teenager I almost started in with in another thread)?  If they know so much about this stuff, why are they here asking questions?

It's just not worth the aggrevation trying to help them, when all they do is cop attitudes.

- Jeff

Title: Re: song copyright
Post by Isaac Clark on Jul 6th, 2005, 4:08am

on 07/05/05 at 23:01:51, JSonnabend wrote:
Isaac, you're 100% correct, but why bother arguing with the likes of Ringo or Sagebrushfire (an apparent teenager I almost started in with in another thread)?  If they know so much about this stuff, why are they here asking questions?

It's just not worth the aggrevation trying to help them, when all they do is cop attitudes.

- Jeff


I'm not trying to help them.  I guess I fell into the trap of
assuming that others might be fooled.  I suppose most readers
probably can recognize nonsense when they see it.

The other thing was the this electronic registrations stuff was
starting to look like ripoff advertisement, with more and more
detail being posted in response to probes.  I probably got a
little torqued.

Title: Re: song copyright
Post by ringo on Aug 29th, 2005, 3:45pm
Don't get torqued - its not worth it. You'll give yourself a heart attack. Try looking a little deeper into digital registration services. There are a number of them out there and worth looking into.
www.surety.com  
www.genuinedoc.com
www.software-reg.com  to name but a few!!!!  ;)

By the way, I believe someone said that you have no protection if you register with a digital notary (DN) - or online registration service - and that it does not give you the protection of the CO. Turns out - partially true.
If I register music with a DN and this is stolen by another, I can claim damages for lost earnings (that'l be the day ;)) but cannot claim punitive damages. If I register with the CO.... THEN I can also claim for punitive damages.

A legal guy wrote that! But I'm sure you already knew that anyway.

One other thing - a bit techy but that's the way I am.... when a file is registered with a digital notary no content of the file is exposed (encryption, digital fingerprinting etc) or can be read or recompiled. Not unlike reconstructing a persons features from their fingerprint - can't be done  - but the fingerprint is unique to that person. A digital fingerprint is unique to a particular file - the one you want to prove existed... back then..... when you registered it... digitally. It's so simple and still cheaper then the CO



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