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Kirk Lorange

The Copyright quagmire ... update

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Stratrat    0
...Here's the catch: most musicians don't care about the business side. "I just want to make music, man, I don't care about all that stuff!" That's their downfall. Most musicians don't want to learn about marketing.

I can understand that - marketing really doesn't interest me much either and I've never been much of a salesperson...but if I ever did get to the point that my music was marketable (especially if I were depending on it for my livelihood), I'd definitely take the time to learn the business side of it.

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solidwalnut    5
I can understand that - marketing really doesn't interest me much either and I've never been much of a salesperson...but if I ever did get to the point that my music was marketable (especially if I were depending on it for my livelihood), I'd definitely take the time to learn the business side of it.

Yeah, I know what you mean. I guess it was something that just interested me after a while. I wanted to try and create my own conduit for my music.

One avenue into learning about all this stuff is to just write a song and then send in a copyright application for it. Playing, singing and recording your own stuff is one thing, but then trying to make it available for others to use is exciting and infectious!

Steve

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starsailor    20
Yeah, I know what you mean. I guess it was something that just interested me after a while. I wanted to try and create my own conduit for my music.

One avenue into learning about all this stuff is to just write a song and then send in a copyright application for it. Playing, singing and recording your own stuff is one thing, but then trying to make it available for others to use is exciting and infectious!

Steve

Just following on from Steves' post, I would like to know if this kind of method is a sensible way to protect your work or is it better to just send in individual applications this might be a useful link for UK Members who have been thinking about protecting their work but I would appreciate your advice on this one as they charge an Annual fee for this service.:winkthumb:

The UK Copyright Service - Intellectual property registration centre

Cheers

Chris

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solidwalnut    5
Just following on from Steves' post, I would like to know if this kind of method is a sensible way to protect your work or is it better to just send in individual applications this might be a useful link for UK Members who have been thinking about protecting their work but I would appreciate your advice on this one as they charge an Annual fee for this service.:winkthumb:

The UK Copyright Service - Intellectual property registration centre

Cheers

Chris

That's a really great point, 'is it worth it'?

I really think it depends on your goals for your music. Getting a registration helps protect you if you go to court over some of your work.

Should a songwriter care if they don't really have any plans for their song? I think that's up to the individual. Yes, if you want to pursue songwriting and have others possibly be interested in your work. Not necessarily if all you're going to do is sit in your bedroom and hammer out a couple songs in a year.

From the standpoint of wanting to pursue songwriting: I know it costs a bit of money, but if you're taking this angle remember that you are in business for yourself and it then becomes tax deductible (in the US, anyway...DISCLAIMER...this advice is not the advice of GfB&B and is soley the opinon of this poster! If this was a REAL post, you would have been instructed on how to print this out and flush it down the toilet!! Good luck, Mr. Phelps!):)

By the way, the UK copyright service site is a good one, full of answers to questions.

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starsailor    20

Thanks for the advice Steve, I am pretty new to songwriting but

the reason I asked is that I've been invited to a small festival that my sister organizes every year and she wants me to perform a few songs (if I don't have a nervous breakdown) and I am working on a few songs for it, there will be a few hundred people there so it puts my songs in the public domain, I don't think my songs are that cutting edge but I would be a bit annoyed if someone took a shine to one and it ended up in one of their playlists, there could always be a possibility (maybe remote) that a song could be covered without copyright protection,and lose the writer a nice little pension. Never say never is my motto.

Thanks for the thumbs up on the UK Copyright service, it looks quite good, and once again thanks for your advice always appreciated.

Best Wishes

Chris

Ps. Like the Disclaimer :yes:

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solidwalnut    5
Thanks for the advice Steve, I am pretty new to songwriting but

the reason I asked is that I've been invited to a small festival that my sister organizes every year and she wants me to perform a few songs (if I don't have a nervous breakdown) and I am working on a few songs for it, there will be a few hundred people there so it puts my songs in the public domain, I don't think my songs are that cutting edge but I would be a bit annoyed if someone took a shine to one and it ended up in one of their playlists, there could always be a possibility (maybe remote) that a song could be covered without copyright protection,and lose the writer a nice little pension. Never say never is my motto.

Thanks for the thumbs up on the UK Copyright service, it looks quite good, and once again thanks for your advice always appreciated.

Best Wishes

Chris

Ps. Like the Disclaimer :yes:

Chris--

The copyright laws are a bit different from country to country, but it all works basically the same. I personally wouldn't worry about playing your songs in public, and those songs being in public in front of a few hundred people. Of course, you could protect the songs and then you're done with thinking about it. But the thing is, while you say 'public domain' you really don't mean that. When you wrote the song, and you put it in fixed form (US laws, check UK laws), then that makes you the sole author of the song. In the US, the song is considered copyrighted at that moment. The difference is that when you go for a copyright registration, the government would become a witness for you and say that you had a registration for that song should you decide to take someone to court for 'stealing' your song.

Public Domain means that a copyright never existed for the song because it dates the thought of copyrighted material, or it used to have a copyright and now it's expired. You may know all of this, but I thought I'd say just in case.

Like I said, you could go ahead and get protection for the songs and you'd be done with thinking about it, but here's something else you could do just for the festival: on the printed brochures, make it a point to state that all of your songs are © Year and Your Music Company Name. You would need to check with UK law, but in the US, you can use the copyright symbol anytime. It's not required, though, even if you have a registration. But it's a great way to show that you mean business. Just check the back of any CD and after the lyrics of every song.

Just a couple of thoughts....

Steve

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Lcjones    8

Steve,

Always the righteous answers. Thank you for all the sage advice and great information. If you haven't already, you should write a book on the subject and thats a fact! ;) A Dummy's Guide (meaning me ;) ) For The Independent Musician. I always enjoy and learn from reading your posts regarding the music business and how a musician can help him or herself.

Kudos!

**

LC

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solidwalnut    5
Steve,

Always the righteous answers. Thank you for all the sage advice and great information. If you haven't already, you should write a book on the subject and thats a fact! ;) A Dummy's Guide (meaning me ;) ) For The Independent Musician. I always enjoy and learn from reading your posts regarding the music business and how a musician can help him or herself.

Kudos!

**

LC

You're welcome! There's already a ton of books on the subject, but not one with that title! I should check that into that, thanks!

Here's a link to a webpage I wrote a few years ago specifically as a FAQ about the business as it pertains to aspiring musicians and songwriters. People would write with questions and I collected them over a period of time.

WARNING. The information in this webpage is from a Christian perspective, so if that offends you don't go there. But here's the deal: there's no difference in the music industry between Christian or non-Christian songwriting and recording and there's some valuable, system-navigating info there. :winkthumb:

Steve

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Stratrat    0

Steve - I just wanted to add my thanks for all your insight also. I know that I go off the deep end with my rants and hyperbole about the "industry" sometimes, but believe me when I say that it comes from a deep-rooted respect and love for music and the amazing talent of the songwriters and musicians who create it.

I don't know the industry from the inside as you do, but from my meager knowledge of the whole industry model it seems that the people with the true talent (the musicians and songwriters) get horribly ripped off in the whole process and don't reap nearly the rewards they should for their music. I understand that there are other "links in the chain" who are trying to make a living in the industry also (producers, sound engineers, etc.), but it just seems reprehensible to me that the musicians themselves make mere pennies on the dollar in album/CD sales and are pretty much forced to surrender all rights to their creations. I realize that they have the choice not to sign the contract with those terms, but if every major label does it that way it seems that they're pretty much left without a choice if they hope to hit it big.

Once again, thanks for taking your time to post on these topics and being the voice of reason.

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starsailor    20

+1 to LC and Stratrat, and thanks for your reply Steve, it is great having you here to answer our questions.

Thanks for the link as well, I think if a person is going to take up songwriting on a serious basis, it would be worth registering for peace of mind although I know that posting it to yourself gives a degree of protection, a registration would have more clout in a Courtroom but like you say using the copyright symbol can show you mean business.:winkthumb:

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solidwalnut    5
Steve - I just wanted to add my thanks for all your insight also. I know that I go off the deep end with my rants and hyperbole about the "industry" sometimes, but believe me when I say that it comes from a deep-rooted respect and love for music and the amazing talent of the songwriters and musicians who create it.

I don't know the industry from the inside as you do, but from my meager knowledge of the whole industry model it seems that the people with the true talent (the musicians and songwriters) get horribly ripped off in the whole process and don't reap nearly the rewards they should for their music. I understand that there are other "links in the chain" who are trying to make a living in the industry also (producers, sound engineers, etc.), but it just seems reprehensible to me that the musicians themselves make mere pennies on the dollar in album/CD sales and are pretty much forced to surrender all rights to their creations. I realize that they have the choice not to sign the contract with those terms, but if every major label does it that way it seems that they're pretty much left without a choice if they hope to hit it big.

Once again, thanks for taking your time to post on these topics and being the voice of reason.

Yeah, it totally is reprehensible that some very talented musicians have been roasted and ripped off. I agree, and it's a sham--and a shame.

But music is such an emotional high for us. It drives us and defines who we are. When you mix that with business, you get a high octane mix. The business-only types saw a very lucrative way to make a living back when it all started. Most musicians didn't care; they just wanted to play. They just wanted to 'make it big'.

You bet it's a real travesty as to what has happened to musicians like Billy Joel, who was heavily ripped off by his brother-in-law manager and the list goes on and on. But the force of the music behind him resurrected him.

Musicians wanting to make it big have two basic choices: stay ignorant of the business and risk getting ripped off, or learning about it and managing their business. It's no different when you talk about being in business for yourself in any other field. This should have been realized many years ago. But it all depends on the goals. There are plenty of musicians who make a living being musicians and don't interact with much of the politics of it all and get along just fine. It's like Dick Dale said in that interview: be like Johnny Cash and sell your CD's out of the back of your van at your gigs.

Musicians have choices to make: Define success! Define your goals! Stars in your eyes? Pay the price. You want fame? Pay the price. You don't want anything to do with that, but you want to make some good cash? Learn the business and work hard. You want a little recognition along the way? Create your own buzz. You want radio play? Look to independent stations, college stations and the internet. Want to make money in an area guitarists and other musicians forget about? Radio/TV jingles, film and TV. There's plenty of money to be made working for independent publishers in the business without having to knock on the door of any major. There's the chance of making plenty of money by producing your own recording project and selling them at your concerts. Create a local splash, create a regional splash. Ripples in the pond.

There is so much talent out there that hasn't even touched the inside of a studio for any of the majors. A ton of them have recorded independent projects that we just don't get to hear about. The internet and other 'underground' sources have changed that! The majority of the independent publishers and labels don't practice the deep gouging like the majors do. The bigger independents do, but they're just being 'wannabes'. The smaller independents use the same type of framework for doing business as the majors, but they are much more family-oriented (just like many small businesses across the world).

Sorry for the ramble. I get going sometimes :eek: It's just that we sit here and think that those who are famous and have talent and are in the limelight are somehow better off than we are. It's so not true.

There was this band from Chicago that used to tour the midwest college towns and cities called Duke Tumatoe and the All-Star Frogs. We had such a blast partying to his band's amazing original tunes. He did it right back then. He always had gigs lined up because he mostly only played at college campus bars! He sold his tapes and records at the gigs! Smart man. Captured audience. He still plays to this day but stayed out of the limelight and has made a good living. Duke was a founding member of the band that became REO Speedwagon.

Steve

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solidwalnut    5
...although I know that posting it to yourself gives a degree of protection...

Chris--

Just to get you an answer to about posting it to yourself: The basic answer is no, that doesn't work. The reason being is that it's too easy to swap out materials. Here's more info on the 'poor man's copyright'.

Cheers,

Steve

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starsailor    20

Thanks Steve there's loads to read on that site, I was told by someone that Posting it to yourself helped but legally it hasn't got a leg to stand on, from a business perspective registration seems the safest bet and in terms of what it can save a person in lost revenue in the event of theft it's inexpensive.

The poor mans copyright is a good description, there are probably a few down at heel Songwriters who depended on that method and lived to regret it.

Regards

Chris

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solidwalnut    5
..... and as the music world turns......

There are folks in the trenches doing legwork.

BetaNews | US House to Debate Resolution Against Radio Performance Royalties

**

LC

This whole thing isn't easy in trying to figure out a black and white right and wrong sort of thing.

For decades, record companies have been trying to gain royalty money for performances of radio. Congress has always said NO, radio is doing you a favor of giving you free advertising, etc. (radio DOES pay performance royalties for songwriters. It's always been a manageable sum for any company.)

Then along comes digital music files. In 1988, the US Congress deemed that digital music files have potentially more worth because they can be duplicated. Record companies saw this as an opening.

And they still do! And the mess is not getting sorted out very cleanly.

There are now performance royalties (paid to record companies) from Sirius and XM transmissions. There are new stop-gap resolutions and bills passed all the time.

It seems logical that since there are actual duplications of the recordings that record companies would be due royalties from them. The digital world is very wide. It's no wonder the labels want to try and collect from internet sites and internet radio stations.

All of this is far from over....now what this legislation is trying to do is to block the record companies from seeking royalty payments from traditional analog radio stations. Which seems right since Congress has told them NO for years. Why should they change their minds now?

Sorry, just rambling. I just love giving the blow-by-blow, sometimes.

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