Copyright Procedure

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Copyright Procedure

Postby bill_h » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:04 pm

I'm in the process of writing a series of ebooks on fretboard theory which I plan to make available online soon. I'm hoping someone on the board can point me in the right direction as far as copyright goes.

I know to legally copyright song lyrics all you have to do is write the copyright symbol on a sheet of paper with the lyrics along with the year. ( From there it's a matter of proving that you're the author of those lyrics if someone else claims they're the author. )

If I was to put the copyright symbol and year on my work would my copyright be legal? If so, that's just the quick fix. From there, what would the logical next step be as far as solidifying my copyright claim? Would I register it with the Library Of Congress? Hope someone can help me out.
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Re: Copyright Procedure

Postby thenorm » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:59 pm

http://www.copyright.gov/


http://money.howstuffworks.com/copyright-info1.htm


Do not do the "mail it to yourself" method some people advocate. Pay the fee and register it according to US Copyright office guidelines.

Do some homework.
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Re: Copyright Procedure

Postby bill_h » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:15 am

Thanks for the links Norm. They were helpful but unfortunately to no avail. It tuns out that the web design firm that I hired was a scam. Fortunately there's a good chance I'll be able to get my money back by filing a grievance with my finanacial institution and/or Visa and writing the Utah Attorney General's office.

Who knows, this material may sell if I can ever get it to market!
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Re: Copyright Procedure

Postby thenorm » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:17 am

Are you saying you could not get a legal copyright at the .gov link?
Or did you trust your work to an outfit that promised to do it for you.

Copyrighting is not that difficult if you follow the instructions.

I think it would be of value if you were to enlighten us as to how the 'scam' was run so others might not get suckered the same way if in fact fraud was perpetuated.
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Re: Copyright Procedure

Postby bill_h » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:43 am

No, I wasn't scammed out of any copyrighted material and/or intellectual property. All they took me for was some money. Fortunately I figured out I was being scammed before sending them any copyrighted material to be posted.

I'm a bit pressed for time now but will write more later on in the week. Who knows, it may in fact be of benefit to someone else as far as being able to recognize fraudulent practiceds by purported web developers.
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Re: Copyright Procedure

Postby thenorm » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:14 am

I know some people locally who have had some difficulty finding a competent web designer. It's kinda like finding a guitarist to hire. There are a lot of guitar players out there but only a few that are good enough to warrant getting paid for it.

Same for website designers.

Just because they say they can do it doesn't mean they're good enough to get paid for it.
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Re: Copyright Procedure

Postby bill_h » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:21 pm

Well said Norm! Finding someone that both can and will build a website for me has not panned out so far. The people that tried to scam me employ a variety of stonewalling tactics. After about 8 months of stenewalling and delay tactics they'll finally build a very substandard website. Fortunately I found them out before I sent them any copyrighted material to post.
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Re: Copyright Procedure

Postby thenorm » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:30 am

I want to make sure people understand how (I think) copyright works in court.

When you send in your opus the copyright office doesn't check it, play it or read it. They certify they recieved your work with a legal document that says they took it in on a certain date.

Let's say that farther down the road you hear or see your work being used by someone. You tell them to stop or pay you. If they refuse is it worth you hiring a lawyer to get your money?

Or, as sometimes happens, they claim they created it first. In court they look at who has documented proof of copyright and them with the earliest copyright document have the edge.

I may be wrong but I think most copyright lawsuits happen when a disputed work becomes a lucrative hit. There's not enough money in it otherwise.

This is why artists get their copyright and then join ASCAP or BMI type organizations. Those outfits have the legal clout to recoup royalties. (edit) Or they have a 'publisher' like Fox or Mel Bay handle their product. For a fee of course.

I may be off base on some of these points but I think I'm pretty close.

Just things to think about. Copyright is good but it is not the end of the story.
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Re: Copyright Procedure

Postby bill_h » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:14 am

I'd say your observations about copyright are pretty much on the mark Norm and I doubt that having the works registered with the copyright office is the end of the story everytime.

I know quiet a bit more about the copyright procedure for songs than I do books. ( In other words I know a little about copyrighting songs and way less about the process for books.)

BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC collect "performance" royalties. In other words they are supposed to keep track of how often a song is played on the radio, in supermarkets, elevators, health clubs, etc. and pay the writer of the song app. 7 cents for every time the song is played. The record companies pay "mechanical" royalties which amounts to app. 75 cents for each copy of the song that is sold.

One reason it's so hard to get anyone to listen to a song in Nashville these days is because of the new national pastime - frivolouis lawsuits!

Suppose some songwriter comes to Nashville and pitches a song to a producer with the highly original line "cuts like a knife" in it. That same songwriter gets bitter and discouraged after a time, tucks his tail and runs back home. A year later that same producer produces a song that becomes a major hit. It's a totally different song than the one that the disgruntled songwriter pitched a year ago. The hit doesn't sound anything at all like the disgruntled songwriter's song but the hit also has the highly original line "cuts like a knife" in it. The disgruntled songwriter is likely to file suit against the record label for plagierism ( spelling?) The local attorney probably knows the disgruntled songwriter is "full of it" but will most likely take the case anyway for the publicity.

Some publishers will only schedule meetings with new writers at 7AM or so. That way none of their staff writers are even in the building that early and there's no way anyone could claim that a staff writer heard their song with the highly original line "cuts like a razor" in it and plagierized ( spelling? ) their work.

Of course some copyright infringement cases are valid. In some cases the writers involved have even worked things out among themselves when one party convinces the other that they've screwed up somehow and infringed.
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