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Copyright Music, questions.

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**Mods, if this is in the wrong section, I apologize. Please close, or move the thread to the appropriate section of the forums.**

Quick stuff, I joined the site ages ago and never really took advantage of it, though will be frequenting the site as much as possible from now on.

So the topic. A friend and I have been working on a game which is close to being finished. Music isn't quite there yet, but we'll make it. We intend on selling the music as an album. Obviously, getting copyrights for the tracks are a must at this stage.

So my question is, would it be better to copyright all of the tracks together? Or copyright them all individually?

I've done some searching online and came up with no definitive answer, but my buddy insists that there is more coverage when they're done individually, compared to as a compilation.

Again, I apologize if this is in the wrong section. I'm currently at work and couldn't find a search tool on the site to possibly find similar topics.

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I moved this to Business/Law and left a shortcut in Music/Sound.

Obviously, getting copyrights for the tracks are a must at this stage.

Why? Copyright is automatic. I don't see a crying need to register the copyright.

So my question is, would it be better to copyright all of the tracks together? Or copyright them all individually?

Copyright each song or tune or composition individually, I suppose.

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Thanks Tom!

I supppose the reason to register the copyright is to have that legal cushion, should any one attempt to claim or use the music illegally. I've come across the "poor man's copyright," but read that it wouldn't typically hold up in court. The game itself is for-profit, so I honestly figured having proper documentation of copyrights would be...uh, feasible.

We also intend to sell the music, which furthers our decision to copyright legally. Unless it'd be simpler to use the Creative Commons copyright. But bottom line is that we wouldn't want to entertain the idea of other people profitting off of our work.

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Your music is copyrighted automatically as soon as you create it, for free and without you taking any special action.

In some jurisdictions however, you may be required to register the copyright if you need to take legal action, whilst in others this is not required but may strengthen your case.


Even with a registered copyright however your work isn't necessarily safe from being copied. To protect your work in a case of infringement you need to go to court, which can potentially cost quite a bit of time and money. Are you willing to spend time and money to defend your rights if someone infringes? If the answer is no, then you may as well also save the money on registration. :)


As for how to apply the copyright, I didn't even realise protecting it as an album was an option, I've always just assumed it would be each individual track.


I am not a lawyer, and none of the above is formal legal advice. If you're serious about going into business for profit you should probably take the time to speak to a proper qualified lawyer about these things. :)

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I supppose the reason to register the copyright is to have that legal cushion, should any one attempt to claim or use the music illegally.

 

I've read the same thing, although the common reminder I hear is that it is automatic. My thinking is: if someone steals your work and it turns out they've registered the copyrights, what are you going to do?  "but i made it first" probably won't hold up real well in court. Their defense can be "nuh-uh. i did".

 

I doubt that anyone except a copyright lawyer would know whether collection or single copyright registration is more defendable. It wouldn't make sense if collections were less defendable though.

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Thank you jbadams and SirWeebles for your replies!

 


In some jurisdictions however, you may be required to register the copyright if you need to take legal action, whilst in others this is not required but may strengthen your case.

Would you happen to know of a specific site where I can read up information about this information? Or would a simple Google search be sufficient?

 


Even with a registered copyright however your work isn't necessarily safe from being copied. To protect your work in a case of infringement you need to go to court, which can potentially cost quite a bit of time and money. Are you willing to spend time and money to defend your rights if someone infringes? If the answer is no, then you may as well also save the money on registration. smile.png

I suppose that would depend on the severity of the infringement. If I stand to make more money from a lawsuit than I have to sink in, then I think defending my rights would be top of the list. (But I guess if someone found a way to make large sums of cash off my work, I'd probably wanna recruit them somehow. XD)

 


As for how to apply the copyright, I didn't even realise protecting it as an album was an option, I've always just assumed it would be each individual track.

I hadn't realized this either until a few days ago, but I came across an article from a google search that outlined exactly how to do it. It only interested me because it seems easier to register 11 or 12 tracks for one price, rather than individually. Single copyright (digital) submissions are $35 a pop, while submitting for a compilation is around $55 (the article was from 2012 I believe, so that price tag may have gone up slightly since then). Though I will definitely be looking into contacting a copyright lawyer.

 


I've read the same thing, although the common reminder I hear is that it is automatic. My thinking is: if someone steals your work and it turns out they've registered the copyrights, what are you going to do? "but i made it first" probably won't hold up real well in court. Their defense can be "nuh-uh. i did".

lol This really is my thought process in words. I agree, however, that it wouldn't make sense for compilations to be any less defendable. My partner just seems to think that single copyrights are a better option for "extra cushion."

 

I have also come across this website (http://www.myfreecopyright.com/). Has any one ever used it? I haven't had time to sit down and fully go through the site to read up on things.

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but my buddy insists that there is more coverage when they're done individually, compared to as a compilation.

 

Nope.  You can register each track as a collection of works all in the same bundle.

 

There are, however, some very slight legal differences in getting them registered with the copyright office before it is published for the first time and getting them registered after they were published for the first time.  It is better to get them registered earlier, but if some have already been published, get them registered anyway.

 

 

 


submitting for a compilation is around $55 ... I have also come across this website Has any one ever used it?

Still $55 for the bundle registration, with a limit of 750 items in the bundle.

 

Copyright law talks about registration that is done with the copyright office, not about any other form of copyright registration.  Mailing something to yourself or registering it with some escrow company with a digital signature is not what the law requires.  They may happen to link your document to a date, but that is not what copyright registration is. Linking it to a date is time stamping, not copyright registration.  It does not give you the protections and legal rights you get for copyright registration.

 

The process is really easy. They have instructions on the copyright.gov site, and you can find many sites that give other tutorials, even video instructions, if you prefer. 

 

Copyright registration is only good if you are willing to enforce your rights through the courts.  If you are serious about this, the $55 fee and the hour or so required are nothing in comparison. 

 

Just do it, go to the real copyright office and get a real copyright. It is easy, it is cheap, and it is legally binding.

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Like other have said you have automatic protection upon creation. Someone else can't fraudulently copyright it and won't be able to back up that claim as they won't have the splits (individual tracks that make up the whole). Finally if after that you're still really concerned about this you can always register with ASCAP.

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Thank you frob and CCH Audio for your replies.

I recently just thought of something sort of farfetched, but would watermarking the tracks help in any way to prove that the music belongs to me? I'm not sure if there is a process to remove the watermark if someone knew to look for it, but I would assume that it would, without a doubt, prove that I created the music.

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... would watermarking the tracks help in any way to prove that the music belongs to me? ... I would assume that it would, without a doubt, prove that I created the music.

 

There is an easier way to prove that you created the music.  Before it is first published, you pay $55 to the copyright office and submit the very simple required documentation.

 

 

 

 

You write that you are "selling the music as an album". That is commerce. You need to follow the rules of commerce.  One of those will be registering your copyrights. Getting proper registration is not a hard thing.  In fact, it is a very easy thing.  Your first time may take a little longer, but the process normally takes only a few minutes, certainly less than an hour.  This is a for-profit game and you are selling the album.  You are in business, do what businesses need to do.

 

You have mentioned mailing something to yourself, trying to launch publicly using creative commons, using an escrow company, and embedding secret codes.  STOP IT. 

 

 

 

 

You are in the real world of grown-ups doing business. Copyright registration is one of the costs of doing business.   There is exactly one process that the law must recognize, and that process is really easy.  

 

If $55 and one hour are too big of an investment, you are not ready for this.

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