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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Copyrighting Original Fiddle Tunes


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/329765

jenorma1 - Posted - 04/12/2017:  06:06:04


How do you go about copyrighting an original tune? (Not just a recording but an actual composition). Is this an easy thing to do? Is it expensive?



I'd love to hear from our more prolific tune smiths if they're reading: Arnie Naiman, Paul Roberts, Chris Coole....

trapdoor2 - Posted - 04/12/2017:  06:25:24


Essentially, it is copyrighted the instant you put it into tangible form (write it out or record it). There is no requirement for it to be formally "copyrighted". However, if you want to formalize it (for legal purposes), a single work runs $35. See: copyright.gov/



The 'single work' application is an online form. Looks pretty easy to me.


Edited by - trapdoor2 on 04/12/2017 06:27:31

Marc Nerenberg - Posted - 04/12/2017:  07:50:26


quote:

Originally posted by jenorma1

 

How do you go about copyrighting an original tune? (Not just a recording but an actual composition). Is this an easy thing to do? Is it expensive?




I'd love to hear from our more prolific tune smiths if they're reading: Arnie Naiman, Paul Roberts, Chris Coole....







Interesting that two of the three people whom you called upon for info are Canadians, for whom the rules and procedures may be different than those applicable to you.


Old Hickory - Posted - 04/12/2017:  10:38:40


Marc has it right.  Under current US copyright law, copyright exists from the moment the work is in a tangible form, which includes computer-readable file.  Registration is not required, but it gives you additional legal protections in case of infringement. Registration proves existence of your copyright predating the infringing work. And it allows you to recover statutory damages of $750 to $30,000 per work.  Without registration, your monetary recovery is limited to actual damages or losses that you suffer as a result of the infringement.

Straw - Posted - 04/12/2017:  14:12:04


I've used the electronic copyright system (eCO); it isn't that difficult.   If you are the only composer and performer of the work, you can submit single songs, or a collection of songs by uploading a music file and filling out the forms.  



copyright.gov/registration/per...ndex.html



You'll have to decide if you are copyrighting for performing arts, sound recording, or both.  There are tutorials to walk you through.



 

mbuk06 - Posted - 04/12/2017:  14:33:39


I have experience of copyright in regard to visual images and published text/artwork and can vouch that Marc's advice is correct. Creation of the work in tangible form imbues the creator with copyright of that work. Defending copyright and taking action over infringement is a whole other story. Potentially very expensive and the person with copyright usually needs deep pockets, and certainly deeper pockets than those of the infringing party. And very often that is not the case especially where the alleged infringement is by a large company rather than an individual.



However, I'm curious when applying for copyright of a 'new' fiddle tune how a person can be sure that tune doesn't exist already given the thousands of tunes in circulation? Even when a tune has been originated in good faith I would've thought the likelihood that it is close to or the same as an existing tune is pretty high.

pastorharry - Posted - 04/12/2017:  18:51:38


No worries, they all sound the same anyway clown

jenorma1 - Posted - 04/12/2017:  19:56:33


Thanks everybody - I'm planning on adding original tunes to my site (jeffnormanbanjo.com) over the next several weeks and I was just kind of wondering if it was worth the trouble to try to copyright them for any reason. I certainly dont think that fiddle tunes are a road to riches but I guess I thought it prudent to ask around before posting stuff for the heck of it. Banjohangout is a great resource : )



From what you've all said, it seems like I've got some claim on the material simply by making a file and posting it to my blog (the fact that those posts would be dated likely helps as well). However, Mike B makes a great point - defending a copyright in court could put me in the poorhouse if it ever came up (this is likely true whether I paid the $35 to make it legit or not...). I guess I'll just post my tunes and be glad if anyone else should choose to play them!



As for whether or not one could actually write an "original sounding fiddle tune" - I certainly think you can : ) Here's an older blogpost with a few originals:



jeffnormanbanjo.com/weekly-ban...originals



I tend to veer crooked in my originals which makes them a bit less likely to sound like anything else - if I write something similar to a familar tune like "Cripple Creek"...well I just forget it and play "cripple creek." I've already sneaked a few of my originals into the banjo demo videos I do for Elderly....someone emailed asking for a source recording once, which was flattering : )



Thanks again!

Old Hickory - Posted - 04/13/2017:  09:46:38


Jeff: You have copyright even before posting to your blog, but you're right that posting the songs proves a date by which the songs exist. I'd suggest adding a copyright notice to the page, such as "All tunes Copyright 2017 by Jeff Norman" if that applies to all the songs.  Or just add a notice to each song's description, if you write one.  I'm not even sure copyright notice is legally required any more, but (1) it doesn't hurt and (2) it does announce that you claim ownership. 



As to the cost of defending in case of infringement: The likelihood of an infringement that significantly damages you is probably pretty low.  If you were to become the victim of infringement with a high level of damages and a high likelihood of you winning, an intellectual property litigator might well take on your case on contingency, with their fee being 1/3 the recovery.



Since copyright is automatic, it's no trouble.  If you really fear infringement, then you should probably go the extra step and register your copyrights so that you have the additional protection of statutory damages.



By the way: Impressive site.  Lots of valuable material for clawhammer players and learners.

jenorma1 - Posted - 04/14/2017:  12:05:34


quote:

Originally posted by Old Hickory

 

Jeff: You have copyright even before posting to your blog, but you're right that posting the songs proves a date by which the songs exist. I'd suggest adding a copyright notice to the page, such as "All tunes Copyright 2017 by Jeff Norman" if that applies to all the songs.  Or just add a notice to each song's description, if you write one.  I'm not even sure copyright notice is legally required any more, but (1) it doesn't hurt and (2) it does announce that you claim ownership. 




As to the cost of defending in case of infringement: The likelihood of an infringement that significantly damages you is probably pretty low.  If you were to become the victim of infringement with a high level of damages and a high likelihood of you winning, an intellectual property litigator might well take on your case on contingency, with their fee being 1/3 the recovery.




Since copyright is automatic, it's no trouble.  If you really fear infringement, then you should probably go the extra step and register your copyrights so that you have the additional protection of statutory damages.




By the way: Impressive site.  Lots of valuable material for clawhammer players and learners.







Thanks for the advice (and the compliment on my site!) Ken! 

banjoak - Posted - 04/14/2017:  14:50:02


I believe filing the official copyright mainly just offers clearer legal protection.



Another part is about the creation is about managing the rights...  from simply making sure that you get attribution acknowledgement...  to granting easy permission for others to broadcast your recording, (or others), or perform,  or record it, use it in film or such.  Rather than trying to track you down. Different rights. BMI, ASCAP, SESAC for broadcast/perform.; and Fox agency for mechanical. 



Creative Commons, might be a simple better option for a fiddle tune...if not concerned with getting paid; it generally allows anyone to play it (without fees) as long as credited. Still protects other rights.


Edited by - banjoak on 04/14/2017 14:52:01

kypfer - Posted - 04/15/2017:  00:24:59


Some years ago, long before the advent of the internet and all it's ramifications, an acquaintance of mine "copyrighted" some written material by sending himself a registered letter containing a copy of the work, then depositing the unopened envelope at the bank.

As to the costs in this day and age, I don't know, but it's possibly an idea worth considering.

Mooooo - Posted - 04/15/2017:  01:33:15


quote:

Originally posted by kypfer

 

Some years ago, long before the advent of the internet and all it's ramifications, an acquaintance of mine "copyrighted" some written material by sending himself a registered letter containing a copy of the work, then depositing the unopened envelope at the bank.



As to the costs in this day and age, I don't know, but it's possibly an idea worth considering.







Sending a letter to yourself was my first idea, but if you deposit it in a bank, make sure you have a safe deposit box there or they might give your composition out in exchange for a poem and two advertisement jingles.

jenorma1 - Posted - 04/17/2017:  06:26:48


Just an update - the first of the fiddle tunes (Stripey Cat) is up on my site:



jeffnormanbanjo.com/weekly-ban...ripey-cat



1 down, 9 more to go - thanks for the advice everybody!

maryzcox - Posted - 04/17/2017:  11:08:54


maryzcox.comJust register your original tunes to BMI or whoever you use--don't worry about anyone stealing your songs--all the big names are going to put up their own songs or traditional tunes -- folks who pirate your tunes mostly never buy anyone's tunes . Your real friends & fans will either buy your downloads or CDs . :) 



 



 



 



 



 



 


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