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i kno im pathetic so you dont have to tell me...lol :) i didnt know where to ask this question so i stuck it in here, cause it has to do with songwriting...lol... however there is a question that i would like answered....and the question is...

how do i copyright my lyrics? lol

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Hey Kate

It's not so much that you "copyright" your lyrics as proving your ownership. To that end you establish copyright, normally by publishing somehow or by some other means that allows you to tie the creative work (your lyrics), to your name, on a specific date. This is also sometimes done by mailing yourself your work in a way that means it is dated (don't open it!), by lodging it with a lawyer or bank or even using a paid service that will store them for you in a way that makes it easier to establish a date for the work.

Each way has pros and cons, and nothing is certain. Some are stronger ways of establishing copyright than others, which is where courts come in.

Posting on Songstuff is a form of publishing, and as such establishes a copyright claim, however there are stronger methods. Your posts are timestamped, however theoretically those timestamps could be tampered with. That said, internet archiving is done regularly both by ourselves and by archive programs like the one run by Google, and those service archive and timestamp our site. This raises the bar that our dates are not tampered with (which they are not).

I would also say that you don't need to restrict yourself to one, or another method. You can do them all if you want. The more proof you have the stronger your case if you ever are unfortunate enough to have to proove it in court.

Always add a copyright statement on your work. like © John Moxey 2007, all rights reserved etc.

Hope this helps

John

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Just mail a demo copy of your music on CD with lyric sheets to yourself (registered mail only). That'll do the trick. You technicaly own the copyright as soon as you put your work into tangible form, this means recording it or scoring it. You still need to (like John said) set something up to prove this date of ownership somehow, just in case.

-Joel

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i kno im pathetic so you dont have to tell me...lol :) i didnt know where to ask this question so i stuck it in here, cause it has to do with songwriting...lol... however there is a question that i would like answered....and the question is...

how do i copyright my lyrics? lol

It's too late! We've pinched all your wonderful lyrics and are making a fortune out of them...! :)

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i kno im pathetic so you dont have to tell me...lol :) i didnt know where to ask this question so i stuck it in here, cause it has to do with songwriting...lol... however there is a question that i would like answered....and the question is...

how do i copyright my lyrics? lol

Kate...

With all due respect to the other post on this subject, there is one legal way to protect yourself and that is registering your works at the U.S. Copyright Office at

U.S. Copyright Link

Here again, I come at this from a working viewpoint. as a hobby, you may do with making sure you put the © on your work. (Hit the number key and press ALT while typing in 0169)

Please don't believe that a "poor boy's copyright" (mailing it back to yourself) will give you legal protection. IT WON'T. Sorry.

Even after all of that, if you have a song chart there are those cockroachs that crawl out of the woodwork and say that you stole a line or two from their song. This is why it's so hard to get a record company to listen to your tunes.

Let's say they get a crappy song but that has a line that is kinda close to one they release. Even though the writer on the released song has a copyright thar dates back to befor the other song was thought of, much less copyrighted, that cockroach can still take you to court and jam up your royalities. I had this happed to a fellow songwriter. Of course, he won the case, but what a waste of time and money!

But please don't let this discourage you from writing. I love this business, but I know there are certain things I have to do to protect my work.

Colonel Robert

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Hey

Good point Colonel, it's not the same in the UK and I should have qualified my comments. A woeful misdirection, especially as I was aware it existed. Must have been asleep when I wrote my initial reply.

Totally agree that posting it to yourself is a very weak form of copyright, but in the UK registered post in a properly sealed envelope is still valid. My earlier songs were lodged with a bank where the envelope was sealed with special tape and both I and the manager had to sign across the tape so that the signature went on both envelope and tape.

As far as I am aware registering copyright in the US establishes the date and a claim of ownership of the submitted work, and as it is with the copyright office the chances of any claim being tampered with. I think it used to be about $35 a song, but I may be way off the mark.

Cheers

John

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Hey

Good point Colonel, it's not the same in the UK and I should have qualified my comments. A woeful misdirection, especially as I was aware it existed. Must have been asleep when I wrote my initial reply.

Totally agree that posting it to yourself is a very weak form of copyright, but in the UK registered post in a properly sealed envelope is still valid. My earlier songs were lodged with a bank where the envelope was sealed with special tape and both I and the manager had to sign across the tape so that the signature went on both envelope and tape.

As far as I am aware registering copyright in the US establishes the date and a claim of ownership of the submitted work, and as it is with the copyright office the chances of any claim being tampered with. I think it used to be about $35 a song, but I may be way off the mark.

Cheers

John

John,

You are right about the UK thing.

Now it's $40.00 but, you can do up to 10 songs in a series, (The Greatest Hits of...).

CR

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Kate...

With all due respect to the other post on this subject, there is one legal way to protect yourself and that is registering your works at the U.S. Copyright Office at

U.S. Copyright Link

^^^^^^^IM NOT TO FOND OF AMERICAN STUFF (if it has to do with a musical career or my songwriting)...LOL ID RATHER HAVE SOMETHING CANADIAN SEEING HOW I AM CANADIAN. LOL NO OFFENSE TO ANY AMERIANS HERE. :) ^^^^^^^^^

Here again, I come at this from a working viewpoint. as a hobby, you may do with making sure you put the © on your work. (Hit the number key and press ALT while typing in 0169)

^^^^^^^^As for that, do you suggest that i put the © on all the lyrics that i have written so far and posted on the site? or jus do it from now on? or does it matter?^^^^^^^^^

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Kate.

Everybody is right .

Copyright is automatic in law as soon as you create something.

You make it: you own it.

As long as it’s original.

You are no longer strictly required to put © Kate 2007, but it is still recommended – at least it still lets people know that you know a little something about what’s going on. But if this ownership of your own work is ever challenged or pirated, then it can become something which you might be required to prove – prove that it’s yours, I mean, rather than somebody else’s.

If a court has to make a decision about this, they will only do their normal regular dependable job and consider the evidence put in front of them. Even registered mail. But most people prefer to get their work registered somewhere more official. And the US Copyright Office is pretty much as official as you can get for a US song-writer. Despite registration, however, if someone has a case to bring, then the courts will still examine it on its own merits.

But it takes money to fight in court, remember. If it ever gets down to that, and if you have a winnable case, you can always find a music lawyer to do battle on a contingency basis. That means if you lose you won’t have to pay – but if you win you would have to split whatever you get. So there has to be money somewhere in the equation to give the expense a reason to argue.

Look at the recent case over “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”, for example.

And you can bet your bum that song had been registered for a long time already.

The court was still able to make up its own mind about ownership, however.

But very expensively.

Let’s hope it never happens to you.

Why not join SOCAN – the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada ?

They have an office in Dartmouth -

45 Alderney Drive, Ste. 802, Queen Square

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N6

Phone: (902) 464-7000

Toll-free: 1-800-70 SOCAN

(that's 1-800-707-6226)

They have a MySpace site

It’s a performance rights organisation for music creators and publishers, and you can join as a composer, songwriter or lyricist if you are a Canadian with musical work that has been published or recorded or performed in public.

They collect royalties on behalf of members and can help with all your copyright questions.

If you apply on-line, it’s free.

If you do it by by mail it costs a one-time $25 loonies.

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