AET Educational Series
For this segment, we will share and hopefully clarify a often overlooked process which is copyrighting your material.
I will share educational and factual information and also share a personal story of my own about copyright infringement and how I dealt with it. So, stay tuned boys and girls what you're about to read will be very helpful to your success.
WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT?
Copyright is a form of protection provided to authors of "original works of authorship,"
including literary, artistic and dramatic works, musical compositions and other creations.
Copyright protects the author's original expression as contained in the work but does not
usually extend to any idea, procedure, process, method, system, discovery, name, slogan
Copyright protection gives the author the exclusive right to exercise or control the
- to reproduce copies of the original work;
- to prepare derivative works or "spin-offs" that are based on the original;
- to distribute copies of the work, by sale, transfer, licensing or lending and on the Internet;
- to publicly perform or display the copyrighted work;
- to prevent the intentional modification, distortion or mutilation of any work of the
visual arts that would harm the artist's reputation or honor and to prevent the destruction
of a well-recognized and protected work.
WHAT CAN BE PROTECTED
Literary works normally includes: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose, textbooks, cookbooks,
catalogs, ad copy, speeches, software codes and computer programs;
Visual Arts includes paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, maps, graphic designs,
art reproductions, cartoons, unique package designs, technical drawings and architectural works;
Performing Arts includes musical compositions, dramatic works, scripts, choreography,
motion pictures, and other multimedia or audiovisual works;
Sound Recording protection should be used to protect published and unpublished recordings
of musical, dramatic, or literary works to protect the sound recording itself, in addition to
any copyright in the underlying work;
Serials are literary works published in a series of installments, such as magazines, newspapers,
bulletins, journals and digests. Websites and software can be eligible for copyrights.
What Is Not Protected by Copyright?
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others: • Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded) • Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents • Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration • Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)
How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?
Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others. How Long Does It Lasts? A work that was created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death. In the case of “a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire,” the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
How do you copyright your music and sounds?
Now, the law says that Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is "created" when it is fixed in a copy, and that your music actually has a legitimate copyright as soon as you can get your song or music “fixed” into a tangible (something that can be seen, touched or heard) format of expression. This just means that you either need to get your song recorded into some type of recorder, or get it written down or logged into some type of records file. But to truly protect yourself, along with some very great advantages and benefits that are backed by the US Government, it’s best to register your music with the Copyright Office. By registering your music with the Copyright Office, you will not only have a better record of proof that you are the owner of the music, but you will also get certain rights when it comes to lawsuits, and benefits for you if you must make a claim for copyright infringement… just incase someone uses your music without your permission or the right to do so.
Which form should you use when copyrighting?
For published and unpublished works of the performing arts (musical works and dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, motion pictures and other audiovisual works), use Form PA (Performing Arts). Musical compositions that are recorded on cds or cassettes are works of the performing arts, and should be registered with Form PA. I personally use form PA for all of my song copyrights. For published or unpublished sound recordings, use form SR (Sound Recordings). Registration for a sound recording alone is NOT the same as registration for musical, dramatic, or a literary work that has been recorded. Form SR is used for registration of the particular sounds or a particular recorded performance. Form SR should also be used if you wish to make one registration for both the sound recording and the original work (musical composition). You may make a single registration using form SR only if the copyright claimant is the same for both the sound recording and the musical composition. The bottom line is that Copyrights in sound recordings are to be registered on Copyright Form SR. If you are the owner of both the song composition, and the sound recording of the particular song, you can just use Copyright Form SR to register both of these separate elements as one registration. This is sometimes normal when it comes to producers who write their own music and then record it as a production. Sounds accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work should not be registered on Form SR. You may also file multiple songs as a collection of songs, using just one form.
What is Poor Man’s Copyright?
It’s a cheap way to copyright your work. Basically you send your work to yourself through certified mail, never open the package and your good. There is a lot of skepticism about poor man’s copyright if it works or if it doesn’t .The thing is if you are not working for BIG Company (ex Music label) you don’t want that, but if you have a home studio go for it (a lot of people do it). There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration. Stay tuned here for Copyrights pt 2