W2TW: Copyright part 2 (the second part)

Howdy cheeky monkeys! I am continuing my piece on copyright.

In this installment, I will be stressing the movement of protecting your intellectual property, while also introducing your rights as a copyright holder.

Copyright Registration: The myths about registration, the facts, and what it is

If you are looking to ‘get’ a copyright or register a song under copyright and your right-hand-man tells you to, “just mail it to yourself, then it will be registered under copyright,” you can officially tell that person to, “lick my butthole” (tell em’ Clowers suggested the terminology). That is just a myth.

The process of gaining a copyright can be fulfilled by answering these three questions with a ‘YES’:

-Is it fixed in a tangible form of expression? (This includes, sound recordings and written music)
-Is it Original? Independent origin?
The expression must fall underneath one of these categories:

  • Literary Works
  • Musical Works, including any accompanying words
  • Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works

IF YOU ANSWERED ‘YES’ TO THESE QUESTIONS, THEN YOU HAVE A COPYRIGHT!!!

Now you need to make this official by registering it.

First of all, you are probably wondering, “Cameron, you stupid jack-wagon, why do I need the registration when I already have a copyright?!”

My response, “WHAT A GREAT AND POLITE QUESTION!”
You need to register your copyright for many reasons, but here are the important points:

-A registered copyright certifies your expressive medium as prima facie evidence of validity (burden of proof that your work exists and is the first/original copy)
-Registration is a prerequisite to infringement action for infringement of exclusive rights (if someone tampers, wrongfully uses your song, or challenges the ownership of your art, you have the proper legal documentation to make the claim of wrongful use)

The best way to explain copyright registration is through analogy:

Imagine that you were born without any birth certificate or legal documentation. Yes, you are in fact alive/exist in the world, but you lack legal identity and proof. The same goes with copyright. Don’t get caught with your pants down, because:
A) You will have to pay big time through lawsuits
B) The copyright villains will eat you alive (if you write good stuff)
C) No one likes being caught with their pants down…It’s a basic fact about humans.

“Where do I register for my copyright?”

COPYRIGHT.GOV
The fee for copyright registration is $45 dollars. You can register whole collections (such as albums) or individual songs in one registration form.

If you are looking to make a business out of your music, this is the standard first step.

 

I’m going to leave you with the exclusive rights you receive whenever you gain a copyright (registered or not).

•to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; (publishing/manufacturing)
•to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; (publishing)
•to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending; (distribution)
•to perform the copyrighted work publicly; (performance
•to display the copyrighted work publicly; and (more about art work, but still performance)
•to perform sound recordings publicly by digital audio transmission. (More to talk about, but playing your songs through radio, podcasts, and what not)
As you can see, your copyright rights are in there own a label or a business, much like major labels. You have manufacturing, publishing, distributing, performing, and sound recording usage.
We will discuss these exclusive rights more in depth in my next copyright piece. If you haven’t already, please read my first Copyright Piece, it introduces important concepts dealing with intellectual property and music business.
State of Love and Trust
-Cameron C.

 

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