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#1155942 - 08/19/19 06:52 AM Copyright law  
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Everett Adams Offline
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Everett Adams  Offline
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I have a question on copyright law. I'm no expert but I thought when a song is published for public consumption that the title of the song and the writer's name and copyright owner's name had to appear somewhere on the lyric/music sheet or overhead and on any saleable item like CD etc. Am I wrong or right.?

#1155949 - 08/19/19 10:21 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Humm,
To be sure you need to go to the U.S. Copyright Web Site and read thru what is posted. It is a simple thing to put the Copyright Symbol on a lyric sheet and in other places. If someone is going to cover or record an original song they probably would already know who the copyright owner was. The nice thing about the U.S. Copyright Law, you don't have to be a citizen to register your songs.


Ray E. Strode
#1155950 - 08/19/19 10:28 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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The copyright symbol is no longer required. It's optional.

John smile

#1155951 - 08/19/19 04:19 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Gary E. Andrews Offline
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Gary E. Andrews  Offline
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This horse has a mouth: www.copyright.gov

Transitioning from Songwriting hobbyist, avocation, to Songwriting 'company', vocation, means it's time to study something about the commercial aspects of the 'biz'.

Copyright law is federal, so the .gov address can answer most of your questions and give you a place to study and know for yourself how the law works. I've even spoken with employees by phone to clarify obscure issues.

The more you know the more you can help your lawyer, if such need arises. Copyright law has nuances different from criminal or commercial law. Some lawyers specialize in each discipline, to the exclusion of others. Those specializing in Entertainment Law should know the nuances of that area. Almost any lawyer is better than none.

I recommend putting your copyright notice on any publication where you are giving 'access' to others. That term, 'access', is what you would have to prove in a federal courtroom to begin a complaint of 'infringement' on your 'intellectual property' (IP). How did the thief have access to steal your intellectual property?

Without formal document 'Registration' with the U. S. Register of Copyrights at the Library of Congress you cannot get on the docket in federal court, where federal copyright law is heard. Once you begin to 'do business', to engage contractually with someone to legally use your intellectual property...Let's capitalize "Intellectual Property"...they will want to know that you yourself have legal authority to control that property, to authorize by your signature their 'right' to 'copy' it and take it to market. If you don't, the deal comes to a screeching halt, until you do get the product Registered and can show them the document. Registration is effective the date the Registration application is received by the Register of Copyrights, but you may wait days, weeks, months for a document. I waited 84 days, once. With digitization they may be more electronically competent now to enable expediting your commercial need for documentation. I don't know. www.copyright.gov does know.

Even without formal Registration the notice that you claim your exclusive 'right' to 'copy' your intellectual property is a simple legal formality, giving those with access notice, that may prove invaluable in court, should infringement ever occur. We see daily how thieves with good lawyers get away with robbing people in numerous ways, so we know there are thieves afoot, at large, among us, watching for their opportunity. We buy gas caps that lock on our cars so we can keep the gas we paid for. We lock the doors of our cars and homes and garages and workplaces to keep the things we've bought, and our lives functioning in our bodies. Copyright claim is a 'lock' of sorts, even without the formal Registration that gives you two strong legs to stand on in court should anyone infringe on your right to copy your intellectual property.

It's easy. Why not do it? What advantage is there in NOT putting your copyright notice on your works, wherever you give 'access' to them? And, when things start happening on any given work, it's a good investment to go forward with Registration.


There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#1155960 - 08/20/19 08:27 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Everett Adams Offline
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Everett Adams  Offline
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The reason I ask is, of late, in church, I notice on the overhead where the lyrics are shown, there is no title, no notice of copyright, no CCLI number of the song. There use to be. I even emailed CCLI to ask if there had been any change in requirement to show this information. They said there had been no change in policy. I took that to mean if it was required before, it was still required. I had occasion to visit another church and they had that info showing on their overhead. I guess I am going to have to ask my pastor why they are breaking the law if there is still a law to show this. I just like to know the title of the song and also the writer of said song. That way I can search for it on the net if I want to for any reason.

#1156773 - 09/22/19 09:29 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Lilly Offline
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I was under the impression that as soon as you saved it on something like a computer it is copyrighted to you. I could be wrong though :-)

#1156775 - 09/22/19 10:25 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Lilly]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Lilly
I was under the impression that as soon as you saved it on something like a computer it is copyrighted to you. I could be wrong though :-)


I believe...that per black letter law....that as soon as you create something in any form, its' copyright belongs to you.
But, as a practical matter, you have to be concerned with protecting it with proof that it is yours...which a registered copyright assists with.

Much intellectual property is easy to steal and very hard and expensive to protect. I have no personal experience in the "music business." Playing in bar bands doesn't count. , but from what I have read, to truly protect a musical composition, you need to be connected and the music needs to go from your head to your publisher to the recording and to public distribution...without anyone else knowing that it exists.

Human nature is what it is and Hunter Thompson was not just being rhetorical.

#1156810 - 09/23/19 08:04 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Everett Adams Offline
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I read one time about a songwriter who wrote a song that day and performed it that night at an open mic and made the announcement that he just wrote it. The next day he went to register it and found out someone had already registered it in their name. I don't know if this ever happened but it shows it is possible. So make sure it is protected some how before displaying it publicly.

#1157381 - 10/06/19 12:54 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Copyright law in the United States has become a moving target intended to reward the rich and powerful and penalize the many, less than wealthy... talented songwriters who struggle at the bottom of the pyramid. I took the trouble to formally copyright more than half my catalog and then registered nearly half with ASCAP. Was it worth it? No! Please don't think this "rant" is a condemnation of the rich and powerful. I aspire to reach that "peak" myself... but not at the expense of my fellow songwriters and artists.

The cost is too high, the process takes too long and if you don't possess the resources to promote a song... it will drown in the pool of time... or be stolen from you by an outfit claiming the right to use your song for covers... using your original work. This was never the intention of the mandatory cover privilege provision of copyright law. The music world is full of crooks and charlatans, hiding around every corner. Caveat emptor!

#1157449 - 10/08/19 06:33 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Everett Adams Offline
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Thanks Dave. I find that the same greed that is found in secular music is alive and well In Gospel music. The almighty dollar is the driving force there too. I could expand on that but I wont.

#1157453 - 10/08/19 09:56 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Everett,

Copyright law is one of those gray areas that most people think they know about yet very few actually do. I can't answer your questions about Canada, and particularly in the church, but I can hazzard a guess. Many songs in church hymnals, are actually old old songs, that were passed down from generation to generation and actually have no single source as a writer. Along the way their might be one accepted version and possibly someone gets the credit, but there is not really any particular writer.

We recently had an 8 part documentary called "THE HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC" that chronicles the art form from the beginning in the 20's. People like AP Carter and the Carter family, would gather old folk melodys and lyrics and when they were actually recorded were given credit for that particular version. An example would be "WILDWOOD FLOWER" which was a hundreds year old song but Mother Maybelle Carter is given credit for the first "real recording" and therefore now is credited with the song.
A very famous recording is "American Folk Trilogy" recorded and a huge song for Elvis Presley. And is given credit to writer Micky Newbury for writing it. But he didn't write any of it. It was "ALL MY TRIALS, BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC, AND DIXIE" which are all old folk songs credited to other people. Yet Micky had a reputation and was paid for those songs.

Churches are the oldest receptical for many old melodies and words and have probably been added to by dozens of people over the centuries. Our own National Anthem was written from a 17th Century drinking song. Another aspect was that long before copyright laws, it was accepted practice to take an old song and add your own lyrics to it. In the country music series, there was one particularly melody, "Wasn't God who made Honky Tonk Angels" Which has been a hit on at least three different songs in about 75 years. The same melody keeps popping up.

In today's digital world with most artists simply sounding like other artists and the songs can actually be laid over each other and be the same thing. I don't know how most copyright laws can be remotely enforced.

So I don't know if that is the reason for your question but I would bet it lays in there some where. Look and see if it has a "Traditional" note on the writer line. If if does, that is where it is, and the fact that most songs in hymnals are PUBLIC DOMAIN so they don't have to pay liscencing fees, might have something to do with it.


MAB

#1157526 - 10/09/19 09:23 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Everett Adams Offline
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Everett Adams  Offline
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Most churches rarely use the hymnbooks any more or those old songs, even though many of them are much better than some new songs that churches use today, especially some that appear to be written by songwriters just learning the craft. Up to a couple of years ago, the names of the writers and the song titles would appear on the lyrics on the overhead, plus the license number of CCLI identifying the song. Today nothing appears but the lyrics, not even the song title. I asked my pastor about it and he said they had renewed and upgraded their software and equipment and those items no longer appear on the files that they received. I questioned CCLI if there was any change in policy about showing this information and they said there was no change in policy. I told my church they better check it out because breaking copyright law is serious business. CCLI was started so churches could use copyright material by paying a fee to CCLI which paid the owner of the material they were using. Churches got sued years ago for the fact they were using material and copying sheet music and not paying for it. I don't want my church to get into trouble, and neither do I want to see them break the law, so I told them. I will question them again later to see if they checked into it.

#1157534 - 10/09/19 11:03 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Well, I cant tell you then. My experience with Hymnals was as I related it. But here is something to keep in mind. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC here in the states are on a suing spree on venues that don't pay licencing fees. Many have been reported to ASCAP and BMI in hopes to get their payments up, only to find that these venues, which are mostly very small places, QUIT having live music at all due to one more expense they can't afford. So songwriters cut their noses off to spite their face. And they don'\t get paid from ASCAP, BMI or from the gig. It's just gone.

I'd be willing to bet that churches are the LAST place a Government wants to sue because of very bad publicity. But you may be looking at an oncoming thing where writers are no longer going to be paid in the future and possibly those songs and lack of being mentioned in the titles, could be a "canary in the coal mine" of what is coming.

MAB

Last edited by Marc Barnette; 10/09/19 11:04 AM.
#1157545 - 10/09/19 01:05 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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90 dB Offline
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90 dB  Offline
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But music should all be, like...... free, right? cool


Regards,

Bob

#1157789 - 12 minutes ago Re: Copyright law [Re: Lilly]  
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Pat Hardy Online content
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The copyright law states that as soon as the song achieves some physical form, sheet music, CD, or digital form, it is protected by copyright.

But, the catch 22 is that without a registration of that copyright with the copyright office, you cannot sue for infringement.

I don't believe music has to have notice of copyright, it's copyrighted by default if in digital or material form.

Also, and collaborators take note, as soon as music and lyrics are in digital or material form, they are bound forever as a single creative work, unless.....
'

by written agreement it states otherwise. THis is why I never collaborate with anyone without a collab agreement that states a permanent state of copyright only exists when I, myself, and no other person allowed to do it, registers it with the copyright office, and that any claim of binding lyric to music is waived until I register it with the copyright office, noting that I will provide the lyricist a PDF of the application for his acceptance of the application before I finalize the copyright. But, of course, if a famous lyricist wants me to put music to lyrics, he or she would be allowed to be in the driver's seat. It is my feeling that one of the two collaborators should be controlling the copyright account, otherwise it could be chaotic.

But, in the last decade or so, what I've been doing is creating the music/instrumental version of the song, ( while I hunt for a lyricist ) and I copyright the music, perhaps as "melody 45" etc, and when I do find a good lyric, I register the lyric ( where the lyricist is named "author" and 'claimant" and I'm not on the registration of the lyric at all ) and the music is excluded in the application.

That way, the lyricist cannot prevent me from finding a new lyricist if his lyrics hold the music down, I'm getting bad feedback from music industry types, etc. So, in this way, the song is a derivative copyright, i.e, there are two separate copyrights controlling the song.








Last edited by Pat Hardy; 5 minutes ago.

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