Monday, July 10, 2006

Copyrightng your stuff

Many, many moons I had checked into this and the conclusion at the time was that it was expensive and a hazzle to copyright one’s stuff. There was of course the alternative , the poor man’s copyrght. Basically just mail yourself the copyright-able material and keep the envelope un-opened. I actually read this in a book. However, this strategy may have some holes in it or so thinks. They may have an obvious bias but it does make sense to protect our labors of love. Really, better safe than sorry and especially when well, it is so easy to do nowadays. It is also not expensive. Here is some of the how and who:

Most independent musicians will be interested in what is called an SR (sound recording) copyright. This is what protects your audio recordings from piracy. Well, better said it affords you rights in the case that your work is pirated and otherwise used for profit without your consent. The form can be obtained at the U.S. Copyright Office. It will cost you a $45.00 application fee and of course shipping costs. In this case, it also makes sense to send the package as “registered” mail.

The SR application is overall pretty straightforward but an application nonetheless and if you can’t be bothered then there are outfits that will help you out. As previously referenced is one. Another outfit and one associated with is

One thing to note is that your work is under copyright enforcement from the moment the U.S. Copyright Office receives your application so as soon as possible is probably the best time to send things in. To save money , it is a good idea to copyright an entire album i.e. a “compilation” there is only one application fee per claim and in the case of a compilation i.e. your album all of the tunes within the compilation fall under the protection of the compilation’s claim.


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