Poor-Man's Copyright

Copyright matters affecting music and musicians.
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Lee-Anne333
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Poor-Man's Copyright

Post by Lee-Anne333 » Fri May 16, 2008 3:40 pm

Does Poor-Man's Copyrighting stand up legally?

I have over 100 songs written and recorded. I also don't have an unlimited budget. What is the most economical way of copyrighting my work. It is certainly the cheapest to send my work to myself through the Post; however, does this offer me adequate protection?

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Sun May 18, 2008 10:27 am

Well... It certainly won't hurt to send a copy of your work to your self in the post (AKA 'Poor Mans Copyright'), but on the other hand, the general opinion is that it does not hold any real weight as it is too easy to fake (a simple Google search will give you an idea of what I mean). I have not yet found a case that has been won on such evidence.

I don't know where you are from - but if you are a US citizen you would need to register with the US Copyright Office in any case before you could bring a court case. If you are not a US Citizen, this is not a concern, but a registration with an independent third party service (such as a solicitor's office or a copyright registration service ) will of course add more weight to your case.

If you are registering with the US Copyright Office or the UK Copyright Service, I know that you can register albums as a single work (i.e. you pay the registration fee for the album - not for each song). I don't know how they would would deal with 100 songs - you might want to drop them an email.

Lee-Anne333
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Just as I figured

Post by Lee-Anne333 » Sun May 18, 2008 1:46 pm

Thank you for your advice. I suspected that a Poor-Man's copyright wasn't very strong. It's just that with the amount of work I have under my belt, it's going to cost a pretty penny.

If I do copyright an album (11 songs). Does the copyright then apply to each individual song on the album as well, or the album as a whole? In other words, is each song on the album protected, or are they only protected within the context of the album?

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Mon May 19, 2008 4:04 pm

Copyright does apply to each song individually from the point you first record it in some manner.

Don't confuse copyright - an automatic right, with registration - which is evidence to help prove your copyright. Personally I cannot see why it would matter if you registration an album - If you went to court, the fact that an infringed song was on an album is immaterial, the important thing is proving it is your song in the first place.

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Sherif
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Post by Sherif » Mon May 19, 2008 5:42 pm

I agree with the above - don't mix up copyright and registration. I lot of people seem to struggle with this. Copyright IS automatic. You have it already. There is no such thing as 'copyrighting my work' copyright is a noun not a verb (no matter what the Americans tell you ;) )

Registration is all about evidence. I.e. an independent party that can testify to the fact that you work existed at that point in time (i.e. before the person plagiarising you work got hold of it). It's not legally required, but it can help if you end up in a dispute.

From your posts, it sounds like you are looking to register anyway...
If I do copyright an album (11 songs). Does the copyright then apply to each individual song on the album as well, or the album as a whole? In other words, is each song on the album protected, or are they only protected within the context of the album?
I think the following link will answer that:
http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/servi ... ollections

I also found the following statement on http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/regis ... _questions which seems to confirm this
What if the work is later divided into smaller parts and published separately?
The registration covers all items submitted with the application, it makes no difference how the work is later used, and it does not matter if only parts are published. The registration will provide evidence to support all individual elements, just as it does the entire collection.
"Always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual."
Terry Pratchett

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