Here are some of the common questions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WHAT CAN BE COPYWRITTEN?Ã¢â‚¬Â
First, the header is incorrect; Ã¢â‚¬Å“copywrittenÃ¢â‚¬Â is not a real word. In simple terms, the term Ã¢â‚¬Å“copyrightÃ¢â‚¬Â means your RIGHT to manage/control who does/doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make COPIES of material that was/were created by you and/or is owned by you. The last half of the word does not imply that the covered material is written material. Lyrics, melodies, sheet music, recordings, (etc.) can be Ã¢â‚¬Å“registeredÃ¢â‚¬Â and/or Ã¢â‚¬Å“protectedÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ but not Ã¢â‚¬Å“copywritten.Ã¢â‚¬Â The word Ã¢â‚¬Å“copyrightedÃ¢â‚¬Â is poor English, but it is usually accepted. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The first step towards wisdom is calling things by their proper names.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Chinese proverbÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I think)
But I digress. Back to the subject.
As I mentioned above, there are a variety of items that are protect by the copyright laws, and a wide variety of things that can be registered with the Library of Congress (in the USA) or other groups that are around the world. Single words, short phrases, melodic progressions/rifts, and concepts can NOT be protected by copyrightÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ only the completed piece, which is registered as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“wholeÃ¢â‚¬Â creation.
If the laws were written differently, then only one band would be able to record a C to G walk-upÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ only one writer would be able to write Ã¢â‚¬Å“I love youÃ¢â‚¬Â into a songÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and so on. However, that means that other people can use the things that are NOT protected in their songs, even though they got the idea from listening to your song.
Need more info? See WAT WORKS ARE PROTECTED on the official web site for the US Copyright Office.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the short form. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the long version: TITLE 17, CIRCULAR 92, CHAPTER 1
Confused? If not, keep reading; it gets confusing.
WHO CAN RECORD MY MUSIC?
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the next thing that confuses people: Just because you hold a copyright to a recording, that does not mean that other people cannot record their own version. Once a song has been Ã¢â‚¬Å“distributed to the public under the authority of the copyright owner,Ã¢â‚¬Â you must sign a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Compulsory LicenseÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ regardless of what you think about the band. (Technically, this would include music that is on sites like Soundclick.)
The good news? Under the terms of the Compulsory License, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re responsible for the royalty payments. The payments can come from a person, manager, publisher, label, (etc.) but the person/people who sign the license are held responsible. As the saying goes, Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you want to play, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to pay.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Need more info? Details can be found in CIRCULAR 73.
For more details, see LICENSING AND C.A.R.P SECTION on the official web site for the US Copyright Office.
DOES THAT MEAN THEY CAN SAMPLE MY MUSIC?
If somebody wants to record their own song using a sample out of your song, they have to get your permissionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and you can deny them. The Compulsory License (and all pertinent laws) only gives a person/group the right to re-record or perform your song (in a manner that is identical or similar to your version); it does NOT give them permission to use your recording, which belongs to youÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ or any person/group (like a publisher) to whom you have assigned your rights to that recording.
Again, there are various things that are protected by the copyright laws. The lyrics, melody, sheet music, and recording are EACH protected separately, and are not to be considered as just 1 itemÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ even though ALL are registered at the same moment when you submit a recording to the Library of Congress or other groups that are around the world.
WHO HOLDS THE COPYRIGHT TO A RECORDING, ME OR THE BAND?
If a band records your song, you can still retain the copyright to what you wrote, but they (or their label/publisher/etc.) hold the copyright to the actual recording. Just because you gave them permission to record your song, that does not mean that you hold the copyright to the recording, and it does not mean that they hold the copyright to the song.
Also, the Compulsory License only gives the band (and their representatives) permission for Ã¢â‚¬Å“making and distributing phonorecordsÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ which would include CDs, MP3s, and so on. It does NOT give them permission to put their recording in a Ã¢â‚¬Å“theatrical performance or audiovisual workÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ like a Broadway musical, a movie, or a TV commercial.
If your song is recorded, and a person/group wants to use the bandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recording in a movie or a commercial, that person/group has to sign deals with the copyright owner of the song AND the copyright owner of the recording.
Did I mention that this can get confusing?
WHAT CAN I DO WITH OTHER PEOPLEÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S SONGS?
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve read this far, then you should have a really good idea of what you can (or cannot) do, based on what people can (or cannot) do with your music. However, there are a few things that need to addressed.
According to a recent ruling by a Canadian judge, the person who illegally posts songs for downloading is guilty, not the down loaders, because the person who posts the song(s) is providing Ã¢â‚¬Å“distributionÃ¢â‚¬Â without the permission of the copyright owner(s).
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s partially correct.
If you download music, you are literally making a copy of a song. If you have not acquired permission from the copyright owner to make copies, or have not acquired/purchased the song from a person/group that has permission from the copyright owner to distribute copies, then you are making an illegal copy. Period.
SONG POSTED FOR CRITIQUES
In the Song Critique section of Studio Central, it is implied that you have permission to listen to their song, and to make a copy for evaluation purposesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ but this does NOT give you permission to make copies for your personal enjoyment or personal gain. To do that, you MUST (by the letter of the law) contact the copyright owner and get their permissionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ unless they have listed permission(s) in that post.
However, posting a song to the Song Critique section also puts certain uses of the song in a Ã¢â‚¬Å“greyÃ¢â‚¬Â area. Even though you cannot copy it for your personal use, you CAN copy it for Ã¢â‚¬Å“educationalÃ¢â‚¬Â purposes.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an example: SC member GirlGotBass posted a song to the Song Critique section. I made a copy, added some processing, and posted a link to my version in the same thread. This is covered under the Fair Use laws, which statesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Title 17, Circular 92, Chapter 1, Ã‚Â§ 107 wrote:Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include Ã¢â‚¬â€
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
However, that still does NOT give me permission to use MY version for my personal enjoyment or personal gain, because it is not unique or dramatically different from the original. (Read Ã‚Â§ 107 again; it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give you permission to create a unique or dramatically different version.) The copyright owner still holds the copyright to the recording, and they still have to give permission for use of any version outside of the Song Critique section of Studio Central.
CAN I GET A COMPUSORY LICENSE FOR THOSE SONGS?
No. If a person posts a song in the Song Critique section, that does not mean that you can file for a Compulsory License. Any judge (who isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t senile) would recognize that the Song Critique section of Studio Central is NOT a form of Ã¢â‚¬Å“distribution to the publicÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and would uphold the copyright ownerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right to refuse to allow you to record the song.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I spent an hour spelling out exactly what could (and could not) be done with the lyrics, melodies, and recordings that I offered to other members in the REMIX CONTEST. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not because IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m trying to protect every piece of my music; itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because it is MY obligation to define what other people are allowed to do with MY work.
WHAT ABOUT Ã¢â‚¬Å“CREATIVE COMMONSÃ¢â‚¬Â?
The fact is, the people who run this site do NOT have the authority to provide you (the copyright owner) with rights that are not provided by the Copyright laws. All they are providing are ways to give Ã¢â‚¬Å“blanketÃ¢â‚¬Â permissions to everybody to do certain things with your works.
IsnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that a good thing?
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“goodÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“badÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just a Ã¢â‚¬Å“newÃ¢â‚¬Â thing. I already have the right to give Ã¢â‚¬Å“blanketÃ¢â‚¬Â permissions to everybody to do certain things with my works. Personally, I would prefer that people ask for my permission; if they are willing to go through that process, then they show that they respect my work, instead of just looking at it as a means to finance their life.
If you have more questions, you can post them here, and I will try to help.
You can also visit http://www.copyright.gov/
Written by Douglas Shaw
Ã‚Â©2005, Dugz Ink dot com Publishing
Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ with unrestricted permissions for use by Studio Central, Tweakheadz Lab, and their owner/administrator