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   Copyright Protection

 The copyright law of the United States provides for copyright protection in “musical works, including any accompanying words,” that are fixed in some tangible medium of expression. Musical works include both original compositions and original arrangements or other new versions of earlier compositions to which new copyrightable authorship has been added.
 The information contained on this page is meant to relay the general copyright process and should not be used as a replacement for proper research
on the Government Copyright Website . If you are seeking a copyright go through the website or an attorney, It's your ORIGINAL WORK so PROTECT IT!

Claiming/Securing a Copyright

 The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood; a copyright is secured automatically upon creation. Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. If a work is prepared over a period of time, the part of the work that is fixed on a particular date constitutes the created work as of that date. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.

 No publication, registration, or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. There are, however, certain definite advantages to registration.

 In the case of works made for hire, the employer and not the employee is considered to be the author. Section 101 of the Copyright Law defines a "work made for hire." The authors of a joint work are co-owners of the copyright in the work, unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

 The time the Copyright Office requires to process an application varies depending on the amount of material the office is receiving. If your submission is in order, you may generally expect to receive a certificate of registration within approximately four months of submission.

Advantages of Copyright Registration

 Copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Among these advantages are the following:

 Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright. Unlike the law before 1978, when a work has been registered in unpublished form, it is not necessary to make another registration when the work becomes published, although the copyright owner may register the published edition, if desired.

Registering a Copyright

 A copyright is secured automatically upon creation. The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. No publication, registration, or other action in the U.S. Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. There are, however, certain definite advantages to registration.

 On July 1, 2008, the Copyright Office began offering online registration of claims to a copyright. Online registration through the electronic Copyright Office (eCO) is the preferred way to register basic claims. The advantages include:

Alternate Methods of Registering a Copyright

 The next best option for registering basic claims is the new fill-in Form CO. Complete Form CO (.PDF document) on your personal computer, print it out, and mail it along with a check or money order and your deposit. The fee for a basic registration on Form CO is $45. Forms can be obtained here for this method.
Registration with paper forms is still available. The fee for a basic registration using one of these forms is $45 payable by check or money order. These paper forms are not accessible on the Copyright Office web site; however, staff will send them to you by mail upon request. Remember that online registration through eCO and fill-in Form CO (see above) can be used for the categories of works applicable to Forms TX, VA, PA, SR, and SE.

Form PA: for published and unpublished works of the performing arts (musical and dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, motion pictures and other audiovisual works)
Form SE: for serials, works issued or intended to be issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely (periodicals, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, annuals, journals, etc.)
Form SR: for published and unpublished sound recordings
Form TX: for published and unpublished non dramatic literary works
Form VA: for published and unpublished works of the visual arts (pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, including architectural works)

Public Domain

 "Public domain" means information that is both public release and not copyrighted. Public domain works may be used by anyone, anywhere, anytime without permission, license or royalty payment. These can include scientific and artistic works such as writing, art, music and inventions for which proprietary interests cannot be established. In general, these works are considered to be part of a common cultural and intellectual heritage. A proprietary interest copyright or patent may limit how the public may use or exploit a work.
  A work may enter the public domain because the term of copyright protection has expired, because copyright has been abandoned, or because it is a U.S. government work. At that point, the work may usually be used by anyone for any purpose without the permission of the former owner.

Categories of Material Not Eligible for Federal Copyright Protection

  Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include, among others:
Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded).
Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents.
 Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration.
Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources).

Copyright in General

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

What does copyright protect?

Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?

Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.

When is my work protected?

Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with The Copyright office to be protected?

No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.

Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?

Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.

I've heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?

The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is NO! provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration. Let's see that again!!

The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is NO! provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.

Is my copyright good in other countries?

The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other's citizens' copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. For a listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States, see Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States.

Copyright Registration

In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Among these advantages are the following:

Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.

Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.

If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.

If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.

Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.

Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright. Unlike the law before 1978, when a work has been registered in unpublished form, it is not necessary to make another registration when the work becomes published, although the copyright owner may register the published edition, if desired. 

Another Excellent link for information, sent in by Ms. Brooke P., Many thanks.

"The Copyright Information Guide"

 

Origin Of Music | Psychology and Music | Pianos - Acoustic vs. Digital | To Compose Music , First Learn to Improvise | Guitar Buying Tips
Protecting Your Acoustic Guitar | To Tab or Not To Tab | Copyright Info | When The Music Dies | Good,Bad,Remarkable | Music Promotion

Requiem For The Songs

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