You may have seen the word ‘copyright’ a lot, but do you know what it means? It’s a collection of work where legal rights are granted to the original owners of the work, so that they will be protected against infringement, or in laymen’s terms, someone stealing their work after they put their blood and sweat into the literary or artistic work.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOUR RIGHTS YOU ASK –WHY GO THROUGH ALL OF THE TROUBLE?
Well, it will be all worth it in the end because legally, it will be yours to do whatever you deem necessary with; your legally protected work. Below are a few of the fringe benefits, but we encourage you to check out the copyright website (http://www.copyright.gov/) to get more concise information.
-You can perform the work in public, without feeling that someone will steal your work, and if it is stolen, then you may have a legal case.
-You can make copies of the work, because you own it, and as well, you can rent it, sell it or do whatever you want with it, that is legal to do. You can let the whole world know that you own it.
THERE ARE, AS WITH ANYTHING, STIPULATIONS TO YOUR RIGHTS – BUT HERE ARE A FEW TO GET YOU STARTED:
-Copyrights do not last for ever – they will expire, but likely not in your lifetime. Work that was created after 1977 will last up until 70 years after the owner of the work is deceased, so this means that you need to do your research to find out how you could possibly pass this work down to your family -if you are able to do so.
-Then there are statutory licenses, basically this means that there are still things that can affect your copyright from a legal stance, and that although it is good that your song/music is copyrighted, there are still things that you would have to do in order to prove that someone stole your work. The main thing is that you’ll have to prove that the person did not come up with the song until after they heard you perform it.
WHO SHOULD COPYRIGHT?
If you are a music artist of any sort, and you want to be legally protected, then the answer is you! HOW TO GET STARTED WITH THE COPYRIGHT PROCESS?
The first step is to visit http://www.copyright.gov/, and browse around to get familiar with their processes, or, if you want to just skip this process and go straight to the forms page, then visit http://www.copyright.gov/forms or simply contact the U.S. Copyright office.
WILL THE MUSIC AND THE LYRICS BE COPYRIGHTED TOGETHER?
No, only the lyrics will be copyrighted. There are two separate copyrights that need to be obtained; the copyright for musical compositions (music notes-if any, and/or lyrics), or the sound recording (the beats and audio recording).
SO BOTH MY FRIEND(S) & I WROTE THE SONG AND WANT TO COPYRIGHT IT – WHO IS THE RIGHTFUL OWNER?
The answer is all of you. You all contributed, so you all own the rights equally, even if you contributed more to the song.
POOR MAN’S COPYRIGHT – WHAT IS THAT?
To be honest, copyrighting a song is not that expensive, so it would behoove you to simply fill out the forms and send in the very reasonable fees, to get the process out of the way, because this way has many limitations to it. However, if you have ever heard the phrase ‘poor man’s copyright,’ it simply means that you will take your songs, put them in an envelope, address the envelop to yourself, get it postmarked at the post office, and mail it to yourself. This at least provides a timeline for when your songs were created.
WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT?
You may have seen the word ‘copyright’ a lot, but do you know what it means? It's a collection of work where legal rights are granted to the original owners of the work, so that they will be protected against infringement, or in laymen's terms, someone stealing their work after they put their blood and s