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How careless are you? (copyrights)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by GianGian, Apr 10, 2009.


  1. GianGian

    GianGian

    May 16, 2008
    Hey,
    With the recent discussion about the Satriani/Coldplay songs I started to think about the copyright thing.
    I have been writing songs for sometime, and I have a somewhat nice equipment and knowledge, so I am capable of recording all the instruments by myself and home, but I have always been very protective of my songs, and even after I make the "sending to yourself" thing, I don't let anyone listen to my songs, and I don't put it on the web or anything like that, I still fear that somebody may steal it.
    But this recent discussion got me thinking. If even Joe Satriani, who is a quite well known musician and composer (specially when compared to me), who has everything properly registered and legal, has issues about copyright, with people winning grammies with the song that they stole from him (I am assuming that they did steal the song, this is not the point here, I could have used another example), who am I? I mean, even if I make things as "safe" as possible, it is still possible to be stolen. So I think I could worry a bit less and let people hear my songs and make them more widely avaliable.
    Also, after all, it is better to make some good with your song to somebody and win zero money than to keep it to yourself and win zero money.
    Any thought or advice is welcome.
     
  2. Thankful birds

    Thankful birds

    Jun 17, 2008
    Phoenix
    My first advice is this is unreliable hearsay evidence that would be inadmissable as proof of a copyright. If you're going to do it, register them.

    http://www.copyright.gov/register/
     
  3. +1 on the proper registration . Bud, you can not live a happy life in total fear of being ripped off. It's like putting the best locks, and alarm system on your house, and still living in fear/not sleeping at night for fear someone might break in and rip you off. Because you read/heard that someone somewhere got robbed once. Stop living in fear!!! Register the songs, play them and hope for the best. What is the alternative? Living in fear, never playing, or letting anyone hear your songs, then dying, and KNOW that someone will steal them then. Again Enjoy life, Enjoy your music, and STOP LIVING IN FEAR !
     
  4. kennydakid

    kennydakid

    Jan 8, 2009
    Amesbury, MA
    you can register it after the fact. Having a date stamped recording may come into play and help as evidence of date of creation. However I believe (and I may be wrong on this) that you can only sue for copyright infringement if your material is registered. I have read many cases where there was infringement and the plaintiff then registered their material to be able to bring suit against the defendant
     
  5. ErebusBass

    ErebusBass

    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I think you worry too much.
     
  6. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    I once had a band that wrote some songs. It was a short lived experience, lasted about 6 months. We all had fun and played a couple shows a month. We never got around to doing a studio recording. The band dissolved in Spring of 06. Sometime around fall of 07 Im listening to our local rock station and this strikingly familiar song comes on the radio.
    "Where have I heard this before?" I asked myself. It wasnt until I heard the song a few more times that it dawned on me. Incubus (allegedly) stole one of our songs!
    A couple months later I run into the guitarist from that old band, the one who had written the song. One of the first things out of his mouth was that Incubus (allegedly) stole that song from us. Meh, its a fun story to share, and to be honest, it was only a riff (the hook) of the song, but to us, it was noticable. Win some, lose some.
     
  7. GianGian

    GianGian

    May 16, 2008
    That is kind of interesting! I am actually having a hard time imagining how they heard the riff if you people never recorded anything...anyway, this sounds more like once in a lifetime thing...do you register the songs with your other bands?
     
  8. crayzee

    crayzee

    Feb 12, 2009
    Mississauga, ON
    Sure, there's the types who will steal material, but let's not forget that there's only so many combinations of notes in music. That's not to say that there's an excuse for "stealing" others' riffs, etc... but if you have two groups who play similar types of music and are influenced by the same folks, there's that theoretical chance that they'll produce something similar, even if it's only a line here and there.

    Ultimately, if you want to protect your stuff, register it. At least then you have a leg to stand on if someone rips off your stuff.
     
  9. Step

    Step

    Feb 20, 2008
    Maastricht
    ahahaha

    great post :D
     
  10. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    We live and play in Los Angeles. I was told that Mike Einziger (thats the guitarist/primary songwriter right?) was at one of our shows, though I was only told this and never saw him for myself. Maybe its all hearsay, you know, but this guitar part was spot on to our song.

    Yeah, when I do record something for distribution with my bands we definitely register for copyrights.
     
  11. ColdSteelRain

    ColdSteelRain

    Jul 27, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    Copyright law is different in every country, so you need to find out what the rules are where you live.

    Also, creating a song first doesn't prevent someone else from creating the same song later, without ever having heard yours.
     
  12. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    A copyright is only as good as your legal budget. If you can't afford to sue an infringer---or if he has nothing to take---then copyright is of little use.

    That said, we never know when in the future we will be in a different position. Or that someone will buy a song for a good price because he can't legally steal it. So it does make sense to register a copyright. (Or whatever you must do in Brazil.)
     
  13. GianGian

    GianGian

    May 16, 2008
    The main problem that I see is that these laws vary from country to country...so say I put my song on the web and somebody on the USA steals it...where do I stand? Probably, even if I do register it and make everything right, I will not be the "winner". How many times have we seen a big name lose on the trials when the original writer was a nobody? This is what bothers me, if it all will be worth in the end or if it will be just unnecessary waste of energy.
     
  14. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    That question is difficult to answer. In general, there is international observance of copyright law, but again the laws differ.

    You may have to file suit in the infringer's country, which is even more costly for the little guy.

    Your best bet is to copyright your work and assume others will license the material legally.
     
  15. GianGian

    GianGian

    May 16, 2008
    Yeah...well, I am beginning to think that even if I do make things the "proper" way, if somebody rips me off I will be screwed anyway. The cost of the lawsuit, and trips, lawyers...even if I have the money, it would be a lot for me, and not worth the risk of losing the battle, as the big guy will probably have best lawyers and a lot of other things on his favor.
     
  16. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    No argument there. But it's still a good idea to copyright.

    If a film company wants to use your music, they'll pay.
     
  17. lethargytartare

    lethargytartare

    Sep 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Not really so grim. The damages available in an infringement case can be substantial (and can include attorney's fees), but more important, even if they have nothing to take, you can stop them from continuing to rip you off (assuming they are). So, if you're worried someone poached one of your songs, a bit of cash can get you a threatening letter from an attorney, which will usually resolve the matter...but even easier, if you have your work registered, you can write the letter yourself and point out that registration -- then they'll ask their friends, find out they're screwed, and will probably drop the song.

    ltt
     
  18. It's too late. All your base already belong to me. ;)
     

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