1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Copyright questions

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Norton72, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Burton, Texas
    I have a piece of music with a working title and no lyrics.It was written some 30 years ago by a couple of friends of mine with whom I have written several songs. They have lost interest but of course, they still get their credits as they should. I have copyrighted some pieces in the past, but I never did for this piece because it is unfinished. Can I still protect it with a copyright and then update it in the future with lyrics and a proper title? Or does it then become a separate copyright and/or a separate work? I want the song protected, that's the main thing.
     
  2. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    20,616
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    The North Coast
    My two cents- if it's not being played, and nobody is hearing it, is there really anything to worry about? Not being a smart Alec, but I'm thinking it's pretty hard to steal something if you don't know it exists. Why not finish it, and then worry about it?
     
  3. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Burton, Texas
    Well, mainly because it is being played and people are hearing it. It just doesn't have any lyrics, but the music stands very well on its own.

    I know how this must sound -- some guy is holding onto some cheesy song from his youth, because, you know, someday it's gonna be a hit for sure. Some guy who has never done nor ever will do anything anyway, just wants to let all the guys at the TDPRI know that, you know, he's got stuff goin on too.

    All I want to do is protect my friends' property, even if they don't. I've played this for a few people and they have liked it. Someone put it on FB. I want to do the right thing. But just maybe someday some lyric will come to mind that I feel is worthy of this, and I want to know if it's going to be a hassle to edit a copyrighted song.

    That's all, it's not even my song. I just don't want it stolen from people that aren't even worried about it. Call me stupid.
     
  4. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    20,616
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    The North Coast
    It's not stupid at all. Not even a little. If it's out there, especially on social media these days, it should be protected. I don't know all the ins and outs. I am a songwriter for a living, and I protect all my stuff. But I am not a lawyer. So the short answer is: I don't know. I would talk to a copyright lawyer if it's really important to you.
     
  5. jaybones

    jaybones Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,157
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2014
    Location:
    Kelleys Island, Ohio
    Yes, definitely talk to a copyright lawyer. Had an issue like this come up when I was in college. Friend of mine and I (mostly me) came up with a chord progression, I played some different voicings up the neck and came up with a lead. He came up with one chord, the rest of them were me.

    A couple years later he was playing bass in a band and they put words to it and were playing it out. I was kind of salty about it, I didn't care for what they'd done to it.

    I said something about it to the guitar player who by that time was a friend of mine. They changed the name to Campbell Soup (my last name), and the bass player always introduced the song as "My friend Jay wrote this song, we added a little to it, so here it is. Campbell Soup".

    Since there was no real money involved (college bar band playing only in Athens) I didn't care. As long as I was getting the acknowledgement and being pointed out from the stage by Jamie the bass player.

    Could have been in that band, the guitar player Dan was making it out of the remnants of another band that had a couple members graduate. But I didn't want to be in another band at that point. Didn't think I had the time or patience to deal with the practice and gigs, etc.

    I'm in a similar situation now. Around that time my buddy played a song that was called Buzzrard Skyline (there was a band in Morehead KY by that name where he was in an outfit called King Friday, so I'm not sure he really wrote it). I took the song and added a finger picking intro based on the chord progression, changed the words and made it my own.

    Perfected it when I moved to Key West for a winter. Now its called Key West Skyline and makes better sense. So, whose is it? Mine, my buddy who probably ripped it off, Buzzard Skyline's?

    I'm actually recording it on Reaper, and have added a bass line and a solo it didn't have before. I only heard my buddy play it acoustically...

    When I play it for people I tell them its mine, and everybody really likes it.
     
  6. bdkphoto

    bdkphoto Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    492
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    NYC
    You should just register it with the LOC in the form its is currently in and give it a working title. Minor changes will not effect the registration. Check the LOC site for details - you may be able to copyright lyrics separately at a later date. The LOC is very good about helping out with details about registering works.
     
  7. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Burton, Texas
    Thank you. I had read that you can now do this online. The last time I copyrighted anything was in 1987 and you had to mail in a Form PA. I see now that online takes up to 8 months and registering with paper forms takes up to 13 months. I don't recall ever receiving anything back after my past registrations, but I do see that they have been registered on cocatalog.loc.gov. It's kind of cool to see that.

    Thanks again.
     
  8. Guitarzan

    Guitarzan Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,308
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Hotlanta, GA
    Copyright protection arises at the time a work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

    A work does not have to be registered to attain copyright protection.

    However, there are advantages to have a registered copyright if an infringement case arises because registration is a condition precedent to the good remedies in the copyright act. This is a distinction from trademark law remedies (Lanham Act). It takes a long time to get a registration certificate, and I've had to go through that hustle to sue someone that was flagrantly violating copyright.

    There can be separate copyright protection in copyright and lyrics. But separate registrations will require more diligence and attention in licensing and royalty collection and distribution.

    One can register many works at one time as a collective work. He may choose to register such a thing as "Collective Works of John Smith, Volume I" and then " _ _ _ _, Volume II," etc.

    If one has solely authored work and jointly authored work, it is a good idea to separate and register accordingly. A discreet group can rationally register jointly authored works as a collective work.
     
  9. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Burton, Texas
    So does this mean that if I upload a recording to YouTube, it is then protected? I've heard this before, but thought it was urban myth.
     
  10. bdkphoto

    bdkphoto Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    492
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    NYC
    It is "copyrighted" when it is created - however registration adds additional legal protections and is required to file a lawsuit. If you are the least bit concerned that that someone will infringe your work take the time to register it. In the time it takes to discuss this on the tdpri you can visit the LOC and learn how to file online- then you are done. You will get a certificate a few months down the line. Keep in mind the date of your protection is when you file, not 6-8 months later when you actually receive the certificate. Posting something on Youtube does nothing to protect your work, actually makes it more likely that someone will infringe it.
     
  11. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Location:
    Burton, Texas
    Thanks. I have already begun the registration process and have a case number. I have to get the addresses of the co-authors to complete it.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.