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#90987 by RhythmMan
Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:38 am
First - Please do NOT "try to explain" the "Poor Man's Copyright" to me.
I have explained the realities behind this common misperception at least 4 times on this forum. Before anyone chimes in - do your research, because I did . . .
So ok, you've got a great song.
You're thinking of cutting an album . . . or radio or internet airplay . . . or TV or the movies . . .
You've decided you don't want to just GIVE your hard work away, and you want to get paid for your original songs.
So - you go to register your work with ASCAP, or SECAP, or BMI.
WHAT?! You're not a member already?!
WHAT?! You don't know what these organizations do?!
You'd better do your homework, if you ever want to make money from your songs. Think: Royalties.
Anyway, when you enter your songs into your works catalogue, several questions pop up. (WHAT?! You don't know what a works catalogue is?)

Each question MUST be answered, e.g., alternate titles, publisher, duration, copyright date, copyright number . . .
Oh-oh! Copyright date? Copyright number?
Oh, but I mailed it to myself by registered mail, and didn't open the envelope!
Hahahahaha . . .
If you don't have a copyright number, that's the end of it, right there.

#91407 by philbymon
Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:32 pm
Quite right, Alan.

In order to be a member of BMI, you also must be published first.

#96559 by UmbraKeys
Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:25 am
If you had done research ... you would find that BMI "asks" for your copyright date and #, but it IS NOT required to register your songs.

If you do not fill in the date or # while filing your registration, your registration WILL go through, and be valid.

Also, BMI does NOT require that you are a "published" songwriter.

Try it ... it's as simple as becoming a member, and register your work.

#96647 by Jonny Deth
Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:17 pm
You copyright your music so you can sell it, stop others from selling it without your permission or from outright stealing it and passing it off as their own.

It's about 35-40 bucks to submit to the federal office of copyrights, patents and trademarks, looking at 2-4 years to get your "official" copyright unless you pay the big bucks to jump ahead of the line and get it ASAP.
The standard process wait is supposed to be 6 months to a year but they're full of crap!

If you don't copyright it, good luck trying to protect yourself without spending an arm and a leg if it turns out you get ripped off and the thief churns a worthy profit. Bands tend to go through a lot of members and you may find some years after your departure, one of your ex bands is suddenly very successful based on a song you wrote and in their mind, belongs to them.

#96649 by RhythmMan
Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:33 pm
$45 by mail, $35 online.

#96673 by UmbraKeys
Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:00 am
My comments are based on registration with BMI ... not the cost and vertue of copyright registration.

Just for clarification.

Copyright a collection of songs, instead of just one or two songs at a time ... the cost is the same. You get a bigger bang for your bucks.

My copyrights have usually been completed in just a few months.

#96877 by RhythmMan
Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:06 pm
My last 5 copyrights have been collections of about 10 songs each.
54 songs - for the price of 5 songs.

#97003 by fisherman bob
Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:04 am
I heard it is much safer to copywrite one song at a time. A guy that runs a studio in the K.C. area heard of a case where a song was stolen from a collection of copywritten songs and got away with it. I don't remember the exact details of the case, but I was told to copywrite one song at a time.

#97301 by Jonny Deth
Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:29 pm
fisherman bob wrote:I heard it is much safer to copywrite one song at a time. A guy that runs a studio in the K.C. area heard of a case where a song was stolen from a collection of copywritten songs and got away with it. I don't remember the exact details of the case, but I was told to copywrite one song at a time.

I would dig for details before taking a claim at face value. Without the specifics and for that matter, hearing the two songs for yourself to compare, he is probably exaggerating or excluding major details.

Often enough, it's just too expensive to sue.

#98644 by RhythmMan
Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:12 am
54 songs as 5 collections = $175
I could copyright them as 54 individual songs IF I HAD THE MONEY.
It would cost me $1890. I don't have the money.
Sheeze . . . why do you think people copyright songs as collections in the first place, anyway?
I'll tell you why: because it's that - or nothing.
If I had to pay nearly $2000 to copyright those same 54 songs - I couldn't do it.
That's why I do collections.
And that's why probably most folks do collections.
For the same $175 I spent, I could copyright 5 songs the 'better way,' and then leave the other 49 songs uncopyrighted?
I think not.
Price is a factor.
Not everyone can afford the best way.
Hell - the best way is to hire a copyright lawyer to do it - for $200/hr . . . and that aint' gonna happen either.

#129947 by drumloch
Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:36 pm
I agree with all of these complaints about the copyright and patent process in the us. It is cumbersome, slow, and worst of all ineffective at protecting your works, which is the most important part of any economy. What is a product worth without protection for the idea behind the product, or a song, or poem or ANYTHING? Why can't we just cut an mp3, or a wav of any auditory work, or a jpeg of any visual work, or a doc of any written work, register ourselves on the copyright office website, just like any bank, and upload our work, IMMEDIATELY after creation, registering not only the work, but the exact time it was registered, for a buck or two? I mean how much is the storage for such a system these days? Would this cut too many of the blood sucking lawyers out of the creative process? is it because so many of those blood sucking lawyers work for the US Copyright and Patent Office, and so many of their bosses in the Senate and House of the US are blood sucking lawyers , themselves?

Why can't we just upload and register a work for copyright, the said same way we download a copyrighted work from itunes or any other normal website? Why is this government and our supposed protections
from this government so stuck in the eighteenth century?

#129984 by philbymon
Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:10 pm
Aw, c'mon! In the 18th century, the gov't was actually by & for the ppl, unlike today!

#130097 by RhythmMan
Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:28 pm
The copyright process HAS to be run by blood-sucking lawyers.
They need to be the 'be-all-end-all." For YOU.
They need to get it absolutely right.
When you apply for a copyright, what you are filing for is a legal document that will hold up in any court of law.
If they screw-up, that opens a whole can of worms for everyone.
They need to be perfect for YOU. And "Perfect" is pretty damned hard. It requires a lot of attention to details.
There's a certain mind-set in this county, this one: "Oh hell! - That's good enough!"
Lawyers can not ascribe to that mentality or they lose cases.
The people there are pretty good. About 2 - 3 months back, I talked with one of them for a long, long time. He'd called me w/ a question about how I wanted to register one of my individual songs.
(Yes, I have ALSO registered several of my songs individually).
And I'd filled in the forms with all the right answers.
Turns out that - there were a couple other answers that were also right for me.
He supplied me with some of the 'other correct answers,' and told me why they were probably better for me. He asked me if I wanted to make his suggested changes in my application.
After hearing it from his perspective - he was absolutely right: the other choices I could have made on my application were better for me.
Over the phone he was able to make the changes for me, before processing my application.
He was a good guy, and went well above the call of duty.
I asked him about a previous application of mine, also pending, and he was able to apply a change I now wanted to make to that one as well (before it was processed the way I'd submitted it).
I kept him on the phone a long time with a line of semi-cogent questioning, and I appreciated his time.
He saw that I'd done my own research first and, he was good about the whole thing.
What can get annoying for these guys is all the people that ask the most basic questions, which are answered on their website already.
Most people give up before even trying to find the answer.
These applicants make very little attempt to fully understand what they are doing.
They make ignorant mistakes. But because these are legal documents, the folks at the copyright office cannot correct them.
Corrections require a signature. But it's better to submit an un-altered document.
And they are right.
. . . lazy people who 'don't have the time' to read the answer: THIS is what slows down the process - in conjunction with the sheer volume of submissions.
Their claimed delay by the way, is not 6 months.
They claim that their delay is a little over 2 years, now.
Someone mentioned that one can speed up the process by paying extra for it, and filing with an additional form.
That is true. The sped-up process boils it down to about 3-5 months, depending on volume. The last time I checked on the price for this (over a year ago), it was over $800.
Also - Forms Pa and SR are essentially discontinued. If you NEED to use one of them, you must explain why. If they agree with you, they will mail to you the new forms.

#130102 by sanshouheil
Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:41 pm
The fly in the ointment is that a jury an decide for or against irregardless of a copyright.

So much for the illusion of control.

I feel copyrights are a needed business step. But nothing in the "legal system" is fair or " end all ".

#130304 by RhythmMan
Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:33 pm
" . . . I feel copyrights are a needed business step. But nothing in the "legal system" is fair or " end all ".
. .
Oh? You can COUNT on the Library of Congress having the final and definitive word. They are indeed, the end-all.
And - control is not an illusion, you just choose to be dis-illusioned, which is fine . . .
. . . until your try to disillusion everyone else; then it's tedious.
Yeah, a jury can rule diferent ways, but they are always instructed to make their judgments based on the rules.
I hate the lawyers as much as you do, Sans . . .
Unfortunately, they are now a necessary evil, and we need to accept that.
Or change it. Maybe complaining just makes you feel better . . .
OF COURSE things aren't perfect in our justice system - or anywhere else. And you can get hit crossing the street, too.
But if we always play devil's advocate and point out everything that can go wrong, it becomes a negative habit, and can be very tedious to listen to.
You say there's no fairness in the justice system.
Is this the point where everyone's supposed to play the "ain't it terrible" game? That solves nothing.
There IS some fairness in the justice system. Maybe not always, I agree.
But give me America's justice system over Iran, or India, or Syria, or Russia, or Mexico, or Brazil or Peru or Equador or South Africa or . . ..
You don't like our justice syetem. Hey - I don't either, but never the less, it's the best on Earth, the rules are in place, and complaining about them and pointing out faults won't solve anything.
If we are to complain about a thing, we should talk to the person who has the power to change it.
End of retort.
Here's the place where everyone calls me an asshole for saying all that . . .

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