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El Salto

Copywriting your own songs

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El Salto    2

How does a budding songwriter go about copywriting his own stuff ?

Is there a recognised easy way to do such a thing ?

And how does one go about getting songs published if you don't write music ?

Advice appreciated.

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JanVigne    27

From the BMI web site, "Your composition is copyrighted automatically when the work is 'created,' which the law defines as being 'fixed' in a copy or a recording for the first time. The registration of your copyright is recommended, but not required."

I suppose it comes down to who would possibly steal your material. And how would you know they've stolen it. Then, would you be offended or flattered they'e doing your material?

How to get your work published is the subject of more than a few books and articles.

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mset3    158

El Salto,

Although registering your original work is recommended, here's a way to prove ownership should someone borrow your material. Take your original work and mail it to your self via certified mail. When you receive the letter, sign for receiving it, but don't open it. Certified mail provides a dated and signed postal receipt. Should you have to go to court to prove ownership, you will have dated proof when the original work was mailed. Should someone try to take ownership of your work, this will show the court when your original work was dated. Again, registering your copyright proves there is no question as to the date of the copyright.

Mike

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JanVigne    27

El Salto,

Although registering your original work is recommended, here's a way to prove ownership should someone borrow your material. Take your original work and mail it to your self via certified mail. When you receive the letter, sign for receiving it, but don't open it. Certified mail provides a dated and signed postal receipt. Should you have to go to court to prove ownership, you will have dated proof when the original work was mailed. Should someone try to take ownership of your work, this will show the court when your original work was dated. Again, registering your copyright proves there is no question as to the date of the copyright.

Mike

I have heard that advice, though in a slightly altered fashion. Something about taking a photo of yourself with your material and the day's newspaper plus a menu from the restaurant where you had lunch that day. Apparently, restaurants come and go so fast nowdays, it's actually better than carbon dating your work. Include a piece of pie from that restaurant but, whatever you do, after about a week, do not open that envelope. EVER!!! or you will be very sorry you wrote the material. (Though your dog may think more highly of you after about the second week.)

As to getting published, you don't know anyone named McCartney, do you?

El Salto, I have to ask ... If you don't have any music, how are you going to play these songs? Where are you going to perform them? And, who would hear them who might actually steal them if they have to write the music?

I presented your question to a friend who responded to the fact you have no music. Her answer was, "Then it's a poem." She's always been the very literate type.

My advice, don't trust those "literary" types.

:punk:

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El Salto    2

El Salto,

Although registering your original work is recommended, here's a way to prove ownership should someone borrow your material. Take your original work and mail it to your self via certified mail. When you receive the letter, sign for receiving it, but don't open it. Certified mail provides a dated and signed postal receipt. Should you have to go to court to prove ownership, you will have dated proof when the original work was mailed. Should someone try to take ownership of your work, this will show the court when your original work was dated. Again, registering your copyright proves there is no question as to the date of the copyright.

Mike

Mike, what you've described is kinda what I was angling for info on

I thought this method was tried and tested as a way of copywriting but apparently its not the case

Tam

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El Salto    2

I have heard that advice, though in a slightly altered fashion. Something about taking a photo of yourself with your material and the day's newspaper plus a menu from the restaurant where you had lunch that day. Apparently, restaurants come and go so fast nowdays, it's actually better than carbon dating your work. Include a piece of pie from that restaurant but, whatever you do, after about a week, do not open that envelope. EVER!!! or you will be very sorry you wrote the material. (Though your dog may think more highly of you after about the second week.)

As to getting published, you don't know anyone named McCartney, do you?

El Salto, I have to ask ... If you don't have any music, how are you going to play these songs? Where are you going to perform them? And, who would hear them who might actually steal them if they have to write the music?

I presented your question to a friend who responded to the fact you have no music. Her answer was, "Then it's a poem." She's always been the very literate type.

My advice, don't trust those "literary" types.

:punk:

Jan

I suppose any such material would be a poem ha ha

Although I could write such poems, have a tune for them, with the chords written over the lyric

Only I would know the tempo, because I cant write my poem / song in musical notation or form

Who would steal them ?

Probably no one

Where would I perform them ?

God knows

Just asking, have to be able to be a proficient guitarist first.

Tam

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mset3    158

El Salto,

I should have done more research when I wrote the response above. Here is what I found on the United States Copyright Office (http://www.copyright...neral.html#what) web site:

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.

Again the best from of U.S. copyright protection is registration.

I found this on the UK Gov archive web site (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140603093549/http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipinsight-200908-answers.htm):

Additionally, a creator could send himself or herself a copy by special delivery post (which gives a clear date stamp on the envelope), leaving the envelope unopened on its return (ensuring you also know what is inside each envelope in case you do this more than once).

It would be worthwhile to check the copyright laws for the country where you many live.

Mike

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JanVigne    27

Jan

I suppose any such material would be a poem ha ha

Although I could write such poems, have a tune for them, with the chords written over the lyric

Only I would know the tempo, because I cant write my poem / song in musical notation or form

Who would steal them ?

Probably no one

Where would I perform them ?

God knows

Just asking, have to be able to be a proficient guitarist first.

Tam

You can't own a tempo, a key signature, a chord progression or "a tune". Actually, you can barely claim rights to a melody or lyrics.

You would have to prove in court someone intentionally used your material to their benefit. That's a reasonably long stretch in most cases since there are only so many keys and chords and notes to work with in music. Jimmy Reed would have been very rich if he could have copyrighted a shuffle beat, virtually every Chuck Berry song is a shuffle. A "shuffle" is merely a technique most players learn and incorporate into hundreds of songs or break into during a song. You can't copyright what is "ubiquitous". A lyric like, "The sky is blue, and so are you", can't get any protection. It's impossible for B.B, King to copyright the use of a pentatonic scale in what we refer to as "BB's Box". It's become a signature of his playing but, again, you can't copyright a musical scale. "The Thrill is Gone" can be protected since it is so well known but even that can be used in parts if it is not a direct "steal". If you were to use the lyrics of a well known song in a satirical manner, in most cases that would be your privilege and no copyright could stop you. So you're treading on thin ice when you try to stop an "artist" from including material in their performance.

While the laws have changed since the '50's, it's equally tough to prove someone benefited by using your material. Plagiarism is more of an issue with written works as opposed to music and, even there, the work must be fairly well known in order to have any real protection from out and out thievery. Hunter S Thompson, yes. El Salto's letter to the editor, no. And someone singing a song similar to your work in a cafe isn't worth the effort to go after, particularly if you don't have a reputation to protect. Using words without a specific and unique melody tied to those lyrics within the context of, say, a two hour performance isn't a claim most courts would take on without a clear violation of your original intent and personal damage.

"Unchained Melody" can be protected rather easily - if the copyright hasn't expired.

"Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" would not stand a chance in court.

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mset3    158

Not to stir the pot, but I like where this thread is heading. Anyone ever catch the documentary, "Everything Is A Remix." There's an interesting discussion of the copyright system and the intentions of the US founding fathers: http://everythingisa...tch-the-series/

funkyadre,

I only watched part one of the series so far. Is it okay to use other people's original material, as long as no one objects and files a lawsuit?

Mike

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El Salto    2

I think maybe Ive opened a can of worms on this subject.

Thanks all who offered insight into copywrite law

I just thought it would be fun to one day try and get some tunes registered

For my own satisfaction if nothing else.

And I guess any such tunes would need to be written in sheet music form to be published

Maybe :punk:

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