Episode 9 – An Introduction to Copyrights

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Copyrights

Hey indies!

I know it’s been a while, but I gotta be honest, this subject that I’m gonna touch today is one of the most intricate ones. People don’t give enough credit to copyrights, with the internet piracy, creative commons, the whole discussion about the SOPA, PIPA, etc. we are starting to realize that it is important to have your music copyrighted (even when I don’t agree with the bill).

At the same time, there are things that are true in these subject and there are complete myths that are hard to break. The other day I was in a “Copyrights, Patents & Trademarks” class and even here, all the way in Spain, I heard the myth again: “The Poorman’s Copyright”. You know, that story about sending yourself a copy of the music & not opening it and blahblahblah… just so you just know, that DOES NOT hold any protection in the eyes of the law, so if you do that, somebody steals your music & you think you’re protected because you did that, YOU ARE WRONG! Alright? So tattoo this in your forehead if needed: COPYRIGHT OWNER CANNOT SUE FOR INFRINGEMENT UNLESS HE HAS REGISTERED THE WORK. With that said, you better pay attention to this video! 🙂

The basics:
There are 2 types of copyrights (when talking about music):
Sound Recording (SR): The actual recording. Also called “masters”. Normally Record Labels/Artists own this copyright. If you own everything (composition, lyrics, production, etc.) you can also copyright it all in the “Sound Recording” session.
Work Of Performing Arts (PA): The composition, encompassing music, melody & lyrics (if applicable).

How long does a copyright last?
From the date of registration til 70 years after your death.

Can you transfer copyrights?
Yes, but you have to do it in writing

How much does it cost?
It’s $35 per claim (if done online). You can do it by song or collection of songs if the same authors are shared.

Is it international?
Not really, each country has its copyright office, however, if you copyright your creations in the US Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov) you are protected in most of the countries in the world, thanks to relationships they have with other countries offices. For a full list please click here.

To read more about copyrights:
Copyright Basics

Para leer mas sobre copyrights:
Fundamentos de los Derechos de Autor

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