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#1155942 - 08/19/19 05:52 AM Copyright law  
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Everett Adams Online content
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I have a question on copyright law. I'm no expert but I thought when a song is published for public consumption that the title of the song and the writer's name and copyright owner's name had to appear somewhere on the lyric/music sheet or overhead and on any saleable item like CD etc. Am I wrong or right.?

#1155949 - 08/19/19 09:21 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Humm,
To be sure you need to go to the U.S. Copyright Web Site and read thru what is posted. It is a simple thing to put the Copyright Symbol on a lyric sheet and in other places. If someone is going to cover or record an original song they probably would already know who the copyright owner was. The nice thing about the U.S. Copyright Law, you don't have to be a citizen to register your songs.


Ray E. Strode
#1155950 - 08/19/19 09:28 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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The copyright symbol is no longer required. It's optional.

John smile

#1155951 - 08/19/19 03:19 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Gary E. Andrews Online content
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This horse has a mouth: www.copyright.gov

Transitioning from Songwriting hobbyist, avocation, to Songwriting 'company', vocation, means it's time to study something about the commercial aspects of the 'biz'.

Copyright law is federal, so the .gov address can answer most of your questions and give you a place to study and know for yourself how the law works. I've even spoken with employees by phone to clarify obscure issues.

The more you know the more you can help your lawyer, if such need arises. Copyright law has nuances different from criminal or commercial law. Some lawyers specialize in each discipline, to the exclusion of others. Those specializing in Entertainment Law should know the nuances of that area. Almost any lawyer is better than none.

I recommend putting your copyright notice on any publication where you are giving 'access' to others. That term, 'access', is what you would have to prove in a federal courtroom to begin a complaint of 'infringement' on your 'intellectual property' (IP). How did the thief have access to steal your intellectual property?

Without formal document 'Registration' with the U. S. Register of Copyrights at the Library of Congress you cannot get on the docket in federal court, where federal copyright law is heard. Once you begin to 'do business', to engage contractually with someone to legally use your intellectual property...Let's capitalize "Intellectual Property"...they will want to know that you yourself have legal authority to control that property, to authorize by your signature their 'right' to 'copy' it and take it to market. If you don't, the deal comes to a screeching halt, until you do get the product Registered and can show them the document. Registration is effective the date the Registration application is received by the Register of Copyrights, but you may wait days, weeks, months for a document. I waited 84 days, once. With digitization they may be more electronically competent now to enable expediting your commercial need for documentation. I don't know. www.copyright.gov does know.

Even without formal Registration the notice that you claim your exclusive 'right' to 'copy' your intellectual property is a simple legal formality, giving those with access notice, that may prove invaluable in court, should infringement ever occur. We see daily how thieves with good lawyers get away with robbing people in numerous ways, so we know there are thieves afoot, at large, among us, watching for their opportunity. We buy gas caps that lock on our cars so we can keep the gas we paid for. We lock the doors of our cars and homes and garages and workplaces to keep the things we've bought, and our lives functioning in our bodies. Copyright claim is a 'lock' of sorts, even without the formal Registration that gives you two strong legs to stand on in court should anyone infringe on your right to copy your intellectual property.

It's easy. Why not do it? What advantage is there in NOT putting your copyright notice on your works, wherever you give 'access' to them? And, when things start happening on any given work, it's a good investment to go forward with Registration.


There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#1155960 - 08/20/19 07:27 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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The reason I ask is, of late, in church, I notice on the overhead where the lyrics are shown, there is no title, no notice of copyright, no CCLI number of the song. There use to be. I even emailed CCLI to ask if there had been any change in requirement to show this information. They said there had been no change in policy. I took that to mean if it was required before, it was still required. I had occasion to visit another church and they had that info showing on their overhead. I guess I am going to have to ask my pastor why they are breaking the law if there is still a law to show this. I just like to know the title of the song and also the writer of said song. That way I can search for it on the net if I want to for any reason.

#1156773 - 09/22/19 08:29 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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I was under the impression that as soon as you saved it on something like a computer it is copyrighted to you. I could be wrong though :-)

#1156775 - 09/22/19 09:25 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Lilly]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Originally Posted by Lilly
I was under the impression that as soon as you saved it on something like a computer it is copyrighted to you. I could be wrong though :-)


I believe...that per black letter law....that as soon as you create something in any form, its' copyright belongs to you.
But, as a practical matter, you have to be concerned with protecting it with proof that it is yours...which a registered copyright assists with.

Much intellectual property is easy to steal and very hard and expensive to protect. I have no personal experience in the "music business." Playing in bar bands doesn't count. , but from what I have read, to truly protect a musical composition, you need to be connected and the music needs to go from your head to your publisher to the recording and to public distribution...without anyone else knowing that it exists.

Human nature is what it is and Hunter Thompson was not just being rhetorical.

#1156810 - 09/23/19 07:04 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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I read one time about a songwriter who wrote a song that day and performed it that night at an open mic and made the announcement that he just wrote it. The next day he went to register it and found out someone had already registered it in their name. I don't know if this ever happened but it shows it is possible. So make sure it is protected some how before displaying it publicly.

#1157381 - 10/06/19 11:54 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Copyright law in the United States has become a moving target intended to reward the rich and powerful and penalize the many, less than wealthy... talented songwriters who struggle at the bottom of the pyramid. I took the trouble to formally copyright more than half my catalog and then registered nearly half with ASCAP. Was it worth it? No! Please don't think this "rant" is a condemnation of the rich and powerful. I aspire to reach that "peak" myself... but not at the expense of my fellow songwriters and artists.

The cost is too high, the process takes too long and if you don't possess the resources to promote a song... it will drown in the pool of time... or be stolen from you by an outfit claiming the right to use your song for covers... using your original work. This was never the intention of the mandatory cover privilege provision of copyright law. The music world is full of crooks and charlatans, hiding around every corner. Caveat emptor!

#1157449 - 10/08/19 05:33 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Thanks Dave. I find that the same greed that is found in secular music is alive and well In Gospel music. The almighty dollar is the driving force there too. I could expand on that but I wont.

#1157453 - 10/08/19 08:56 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Everett,

Copyright law is one of those gray areas that most people think they know about yet very few actually do. I can't answer your questions about Canada, and particularly in the church, but I can hazzard a guess. Many songs in church hymnals, are actually old old songs, that were passed down from generation to generation and actually have no single source as a writer. Along the way their might be one accepted version and possibly someone gets the credit, but there is not really any particular writer.

We recently had an 8 part documentary called "THE HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC" that chronicles the art form from the beginning in the 20's. People like AP Carter and the Carter family, would gather old folk melodys and lyrics and when they were actually recorded were given credit for that particular version. An example would be "WILDWOOD FLOWER" which was a hundreds year old song but Mother Maybelle Carter is given credit for the first "real recording" and therefore now is credited with the song.
A very famous recording is "American Folk Trilogy" recorded and a huge song for Elvis Presley. And is given credit to writer Micky Newbury for writing it. But he didn't write any of it. It was "ALL MY TRIALS, BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC, AND DIXIE" which are all old folk songs credited to other people. Yet Micky had a reputation and was paid for those songs.

Churches are the oldest receptical for many old melodies and words and have probably been added to by dozens of people over the centuries. Our own National Anthem was written from a 17th Century drinking song. Another aspect was that long before copyright laws, it was accepted practice to take an old song and add your own lyrics to it. In the country music series, there was one particularly melody, "Wasn't God who made Honky Tonk Angels" Which has been a hit on at least three different songs in about 75 years. The same melody keeps popping up.

In today's digital world with most artists simply sounding like other artists and the songs can actually be laid over each other and be the same thing. I don't know how most copyright laws can be remotely enforced.

So I don't know if that is the reason for your question but I would bet it lays in there some where. Look and see if it has a "Traditional" note on the writer line. If if does, that is where it is, and the fact that most songs in hymnals are PUBLIC DOMAIN so they don't have to pay liscencing fees, might have something to do with it.


MAB

#1157526 - 10/09/19 08:23 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Most churches rarely use the hymnbooks any more or those old songs, even though many of them are much better than some new songs that churches use today, especially some that appear to be written by songwriters just learning the craft. Up to a couple of years ago, the names of the writers and the song titles would appear on the lyrics on the overhead, plus the license number of CCLI identifying the song. Today nothing appears but the lyrics, not even the song title. I asked my pastor about it and he said they had renewed and upgraded their software and equipment and those items no longer appear on the files that they received. I questioned CCLI if there was any change in policy about showing this information and they said there was no change in policy. I told my church they better check it out because breaking copyright law is serious business. CCLI was started so churches could use copyright material by paying a fee to CCLI which paid the owner of the material they were using. Churches got sued years ago for the fact they were using material and copying sheet music and not paying for it. I don't want my church to get into trouble, and neither do I want to see them break the law, so I told them. I will question them again later to see if they checked into it.

#1157534 - 10/09/19 10:03 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Well, I cant tell you then. My experience with Hymnals was as I related it. But here is something to keep in mind. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC here in the states are on a suing spree on venues that don't pay licencing fees. Many have been reported to ASCAP and BMI in hopes to get their payments up, only to find that these venues, which are mostly very small places, QUIT having live music at all due to one more expense they can't afford. So songwriters cut their noses off to spite their face. And they don'\t get paid from ASCAP, BMI or from the gig. It's just gone.

I'd be willing to bet that churches are the LAST place a Government wants to sue because of very bad publicity. But you may be looking at an oncoming thing where writers are no longer going to be paid in the future and possibly those songs and lack of being mentioned in the titles, could be a "canary in the coal mine" of what is coming.

MAB

Last edited by Marc Barnette; 10/09/19 10:04 AM.
#1157545 - 10/09/19 12:05 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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But music should all be, like...... free, right? cool


Regards,

Bob

#1157789 - 10/14/19 09:07 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Lilly]  
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The copyright law states that as soon as the song achieves some physical form, sheet music, CD, or digital form, it is protected by copyright.

But, the catch 22 is that without a registration of that copyright with the copyright office, you cannot sue for infringement.

I don't believe music has to have notice of copyright, it's copyrighted by default if in digital or material form.

Also, and collaborators take note, as soon as music and lyrics are in digital or material form, they are bound forever as a single creative work, unless.....
'

by written agreement it states otherwise. THis is why I never collaborate with anyone without a collab agreement that states a permanent state of copyright only exists when I, myself, and no other person allowed to do it, registers it with the copyright office, and that any claim of binding lyric to music is waived until I register it with the copyright office, noting that I will provide the lyricist a PDF of the application for his acceptance of the application before I finalize the copyright. But, of course, if a famous lyricist wants me to put music to lyrics, he or she would be allowed to be in the driver's seat. It is my feeling that one of the two collaborators should be controlling the copyright account, otherwise it could be chaotic.

But, in the last decade or so, what I've been doing is creating the music/instrumental version of the song, ( while I hunt for a lyricist ) and I copyright the music, perhaps as "melody 45" etc, and when I do find a good lyric, I register the lyric ( where the lyricist is named "author" and 'claimant" and I'm not on the registration of the lyric at all ) and the music is excluded in the application.

That way, the lyricist cannot prevent me from finding a new lyricist if his lyrics hold the music down, I'm getting bad feedback from music industry types, etc. So, in this way, the song is a derivative copyright, i.e, there are two separate copyrights controlling the song.








Last edited by Pat Hardy; 10/14/19 09:14 PM.
#1157801 - 10/15/19 06:59 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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I don't co-write, less headaches that way.

#1158024 - 10/21/19 03:35 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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I have a question. I am new to collaboration - so new that I was not aware of some of the rules until after I attempted a few. I wrote a melody for someone on another forum to his existing lyrics. He did not want to go further in the production stage with it because he thought it would "cost him". Which it really wouldn't have so he just disappeared and I am left holding a really nice melody to his lyrics. I guess I cannot use the melody to a different set of lyrics now?

#1158028 - 10/21/19 03:58 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: JaneK]  
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Originally Posted by JaneK
I have a question. I am new to collaboration - so new that I was not aware of some of the rules until after I attempted a few. I wrote a melody for someone on another forum to his existing lyrics. He did not want to go further in the production stage with it because he thought it would "cost him". Which it really wouldn't have so he just disappeared and I am left holding a really nice melody to his lyrics. I guess I cannot use the melody to a different set of lyrics now?



Did your melody exist prior to his lyrics Jane? Or did you compose the melody from his lyrics? A big difference.

John smile

#1158031 - 10/21/19 04:12 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Wow John - thanks - that was quick response.

Unfortunately, I composed the melody for him with his lyrics - actually made a recording of it with a vocal/melody and sent him an MP3 draft of it - he wanted to send me more of his lyrics (glad I declined). I guess I might as well delete the whole thing off my drive and just "slap myself" for being ignorant.

#1158032 - 10/21/19 04:22 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: JaneK]  
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Originally Posted by JaneK
Wow John - thanks - that was quick response.

Unfortunately, I composed the melody for him with his lyrics - actually made a recording of it with a vocal/melody and sent him an MP3 draft of it - he wanted to send me more of his lyrics (glad I declined). I guess I might as well delete the whole thing off my drive and just "slap myself" for being ignorant.


For what it's worth... I would give the lyricist equal credit (if you use it). Your melody was guided by his lyrics. Or start from scratch on your own melody. As far as compensation goes, split the PRO royalty and come to an agreement on upfront money (such as CD's). In the future be careful in situations like this. Choose wisely. Cal Francis DiFalco is my lyricist. He's like a brother. We've collaborated for years - with never any problems.

Good luck, John smile

#1158033 - 10/21/19 04:23 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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@Jane, new lyrics to your chord progression will probably change the melody smile

#1158034 - 10/21/19 04:30 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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JaneK Offline
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Thanks for the information John. I don't think he knew any more about this then I did.

#1158035 - 10/21/19 04:32 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: JaneK]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Originally Posted by JaneK
Wow John - thanks - that was quick response.

Unfortunately, I composed the melody for him with his lyrics - actually made a recording of it with a vocal/melody and sent him an MP3 draft of it - he wanted to send me more of his lyrics (glad I declined). I guess I might as well delete the whole thing off my drive and just "slap myself" for being ignorant.


There is really no legal obligation either way. Your melody can be used with different lyrics, nothing was ever copyrighted officially, and I recall country lyricists writing new lyrics to popular songs, using the same exact meter and structure, believing that say....if you heard Jason Aldean was looking for songs to record, you would take one of his previous songs, and just write new lyrics to it. Maybe change the structure a bit, and then giving it to another writer and not tell them what song it is, just to see what they come up with.

They feel that going with whatever was successful for that artist might work again. (probably wont, anyway)

I dont colloborate much either, but I did once to some guy on these sites lyrics. The lyrics werent even very good, but I did it anyway. Shortly after the guy ticked me off, so I told him I was taking my melody back, and took my track down. It's still a very good melody I have if the need ever arises.

In reality, I wouldnt worry about it, the chance of making a nickel off the song are slim to none, even if it became known! And copyrights are all about money.

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 10/21/19 04:35 PM.
#1158037 - 10/21/19 04:55 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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JaneK Offline
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That's true - I can add a simple variation to the melody but I really loved his lyrics. That's all he did was write lyrics. But it is hard to work with someone online if they only text you on their phone to communicate with you every few days or so - yikes - not a good match! I thrive on constant communication when collaborating.

#1158038 - 10/21/19 05:03 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: JaneK]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Originally Posted by JaneK
That's true - I can add a simple variation to the melody but I really loved his lyrics. That's all he did was write lyrics. But it is hard to work with someone online if they only text you on their phone to communicate with you every few days or so - yikes - not a good match! I thrive on constant communication when collaborating.


Maybe he thought his lyrics were too good for just anyone to work on (rolls eyes) we got alot of those types. Most lyricists here though would be thrilled to have somebody take interest and write something to it.

I dont find im that good at writing to somebody else's lyrics anyway. Its all about finding how it's swinging.

#1158240 - 10/26/19 08:04 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Dave Rice Offline
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Hi Jane and other contibutors:

Don't delete that collaboration, Jane. Save it for future reference. If you haven't yet... start a filing system for your music. Number each song with at least a four digit numerical identifier... for example, begin with 0001. Most of us will never surpass 0999 but a few of us have... including Willie Nelson. LOL! Keep a note-book or a ring binder and store your lyrics and music in that format. If you use a data-base... you can cross-reference the song or music in genre, etc. It is easier to start a filing system in the "early-going" than to begin one later.

As Everett pointed out, collaborations are difficult at best. Most should be approached as a 50/50 partnership... but remember, the publisher (and others) will take at least half the pie if you make it to that point. Even that is no guarantee of success. You can have a song "on hold" for years and end up with zilch. Keep as much information regarding your collaborator as they will share with you. Ask them to keep in-touch regarding changes of address, phone or e-mail numbers, etc. (Even name changes... as is pretty common these days.)

If you enjoy creating music/songs... and are content to keep it at the hobby level... while maintaining a path to eventual tracking and cross-referencing techniques... it will keep you both... content and prepared as your musical "chops" and ears learn the do's and don't of this convoluted business. JPF is a great place to gather experience and eventually learn exactly whom to rely-on for advice and techniques for possible success. There are many paths and all a fraught with rocks and shoals. Thank God for Brian! I hope he continues to recover.

Copyright laws and national treaties regarding music are in a massive "state of flux" right now because in part of "streaming" which cheats song-writers, musicians and performers out of massive sums every single day. Registration with your "PRO" of choice (or acceptance) is also becoming a crap shoot. Most of them are interested in protecting their collective posteriors and don't give a hoot about anyone who isn't in all the charts... all the time. As Marc pointed out... they squeeze the life-blood out of small venues, mom and pop restaurants and start-ups by demanding performance money if the venue only has a juke box, record player or just one live musician playing at a piano bar or guitar music in a restaurant. Most business owners will not put up with strong-arm tactics and simply resort to cutting out the music. Music's contribution to the bottom line of a business has always been debated ad infinitum. I would argue that it does contribute to a venue style business but only after the start-up has established a constant clientele, a good balance-sheet and plenty of money in the bank.

Having powerful friends and promoters comes with a caveat. You need tremendous talent, deep pockets and negotiating skills that would make a New York Lawyer seem like a newbie.

All my best wishes to you for success... ----Dave

#1158247 - 10/26/19 01:34 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Hi Dave,

Thanks for your informative post. Seems very complicated to me -making music is not about "fun" anymore but a big mess.

#1158326 - 10/30/19 01:18 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: JaneK]  
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Pat Hardy Offline
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Originally Posted by JaneK
Wow John - thanks - that was quick response.

Unfortunately, I composed the melody for him with his lyrics - actually made a recording of it with a vocal/melody and sent him an MP3 draft of it - he wanted to send me more of his lyrics (glad I declined). I guess I might as well delete the whole thing off my drive and just "slap myself" for being ignorant.



Or, you could just do a new version sans his lyrics, and if it becomes a hit, he sues, just give in and cut him in on the royalties, that's the worst that could happen ( IANAL )

I mean, if it's really a good song, don't kill it.


Caveat: I'm not a lawyer! This might be bad advice, consult an attorney.

#1158327 - 10/30/19 08:01 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Gary E. Andrews Online content
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I don't think the Melody and Lyric are joined until the composer and author agree to join them.
Until then, or if one rejects the other, no contract exists.
A contract consists of an 'offer' and an 'acceptance'. The offeror does not have to 'accept' any 'acceptance'. They can reject the 'acceptance', as a 'counter-offer' to the original contract offer. (See why lawyers become necessary? I too am not a lawyer.)
I forget the information on this 'case' but if the original 'offer' to write a Lyric to a Melody, or a Melody to a Lyric, was responded to, but not 'accepted', no contractual obligation was made.
The Lyricist still owns their Lyric. The Melodist still owns their Melody. The two were never contractually joined as one composition.
All correspondence between two parties, the 'offeror' and the 'offeree', should be maintained. This is part of transitioning from hobbyist, writing/composing as an avocation, to being a company engaging in commerce with another company, or consumer. You have to get formal, like any company, creating files, documents, a paper trail that can be referred to should any legal conflict arise. Your lawyer will appreciate your diligence in keeping records, enabling her to argue your case. (Yes! Your lawyer is a woman and you'll fall in love, be married, have 11 children and then she'll sue for divorce, and keep the house, making her your House-Keeper.)

Last edited by Gary E. Andrews; 10/30/19 08:23 AM.

There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#1158328 - 10/30/19 08:52 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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E Swartz Online content
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Jane,

I've read the above responses to your conundrum. First of all, I'm no expert in the copyright law. You have some great advice above from others more familiar with the subject than myself.

Here is my two cents: Now I write both lyrics and compose my own music--the latter being my better suit IMO. Thusly, in my case the music inspires/influences my lyrics. I have collabed with lyricists a few times, and yes the lyrics may influence melody mood or vibe........but that's NOT IMO creating melody. Whether you're creating a happy bouncy melody, or a somber melody of despair--it's still YOUR melody that comes from within your own experiences/influences in which you "draw" upon--just as an actor "draws" upon to create a character. Having the lyrics "influence" the melody is fine, and normal--but I can't see how that gives license to shared ownership as the two are still different "animals."

I'd just say this to your lyricist, I'm going forward with production, I'd be happy to use your lyrics and I'll take care of upcoming production costs (give him that in writing). If he still says he's not interested, then he has some other reason that he doesn't want to collab or maybe he just doesn't like the melody with his lyrics? If he's not in, find another lyricist and move on--we all tend to like what we've sometimes first heard, but if your melody is a good one--there are hundreds lyric options for you. You can also use the same lyrical theme, and mention that to a lyricist.

Lastly, as Fde pointed out, really.......what are the chances of success? If you hit it big with the song, unless you actually used your former collab's lyrics, I doubt that he would have legal recourse, and if he did, the worst would probably be sharing royalties which at least you could say--you did it! I'm sure he'd want to collab the next time around as well! Honestly, I'd move on myself, as having a positive co-writing relationship would be important to me, and there definitely are other lyrics for your song. Remember, with popular music, melody is the "song's train, lyrics are the passengers." I'm not saying that lyrics aren't important at all, but am saying they won't ever be heard if they don't have a successful train........It is more possible to hear a great melody with average or even poor lyrics on the radio, than to hear a horrible boring melody with great lyrics--music wakes the "soul," our brains listen to the lyrics.


steady-eddie

#1158329 - 10/30/19 09:37 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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PA
I think the answer to Jane’s dilemma is more of an ethical one. Yes, it would be easy to incorporate her melody into a different set of lyrics (who would know?). However (and this only Jane knows), would this melody exist without using her co-writer’s lyrics? Not only for inspiration, but lyrics sets the meter, phrasing, and note duration in a song. I compose from lyrics quite a bit, and they have a significant influence on the music. So, it boils down to what Jane thinks is fair.

John wink

#1158333 - 10/30/19 10:45 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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I get you John, and I'm not disagreeing with you, and suppose the same could be said for having lyrics inspired by music melody. I also get the ethical perspective, but she has expressed a desire to the lyricist in going forward together, and he has expressed disinterest for whatever reason? Given that, I don't think she should feel much obligation concerning inspiration of melody--it's hers IMO no matter where it was inspired, just as conversely the lyrics would be his had they been inspired by her music--JMO, and maybe copyright law is not on my wavelength--and that is the final say. You are more knowledgeable than me on those matters for sure.

steady-eddie

#1158334 - 10/30/19 11:06 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Well this might work....

Have a smash hit with the song. Im guessing your cowriter, and possibly many others will be claiming ownership.

When he contacts you, play with him a little.... "well you weren't around, so I guess the song is mine all mine"

Then, say allright fair is fair, Here's half a million....

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 10/30/19 11:06 AM.
#1158337 - 10/30/19 01:26 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
Copyright Law allows you to Register your Copyright and set a date of completion. If you are the only writer you can use the PA Short Form. Otherwise you need to use the Standard PA Form.

If you are Co-writing it is highly recommended you have a Co-Writing Agreement for each song you Co-Write spelling out in detail what each party can do with the song. In case someone tries to help themselves to your song, the Registration Date establishes your claim. If you took it from somebody else you may have to prove ownership in a court of law.

Most will not steal your song but it is better to be safe than sorry.


Ray E. Strode
#1158345 - 10/30/19 05:44 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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If you have an idea worth stealing in this world that can be profited from...know that people will.

I used to play occasional tennis with an attorney who was defending a big homebuilder in a lawsuit being brought by an architect who claimed his design was stolen by the homebuilder.

For my money, the homebuilder stole them. I have little doubt of that...but the architect lost the case.

#1158347 - 10/31/19 04:23 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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On credits to albums that I have seen and musicians locally, the lyricist and music writer get equal credit. But who puts their name first is not always the originator or who did a bit more of what. Many erasers and what is subjective seems to get thrown around with credits. It could be argued that Michael Anthony from Van Halen was the bands chief songwriter for his parts. Though he is not found in the credits..

#1158352 - 10/31/19 02:17 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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JaneK Offline
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Thanks everyone. I have really learned so much from your information here. I think I have decided to just forget about contacting him and remove the song from my hard drive. In no way is it a song that would profit from going through the trouble of making it "legal" so to speak. When I started out collaborating I was very green but the info I have gotten from everyone on the forum helps me sort out all the in's and out's of the business.

He was very difficult to deal with anyway because he knows nothing about what it takes to make a song - He writes tons of lyrics (some very good) but his communication throughout the whole collab was not good and I was left holding the bag. Lyrics only writers sometimes do not understand what it takes to get a song ready for the masses to hear. It does not happen without any effort and sometimes takes a little bit of money also.

#1158361 - 11/01/19 06:55 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Every hobby will cost you a few dollars to do and a songwriting hobby can end up costing many dollars, depending how far you want to take it. When you step out into trying to make a showing in the real world of competitive songwriting, the cost can escalate substantially. I've spent many thousands of dollars trying for the brass ring, and even though I've recovered some thousands of dollars, I can't claim I'm in the black money wise, but success is not always achieved in money. Satisfaction in knowing something you wrote touched somebody emotionally and may have even changed their lives, is success that money can not buy. You can convey in a three minute song a message to a person that a three hour speech can not convey. That is the power of a song. Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, never sell yourself short. Take those pictures, write those songs, write poetry, you never know whom you will touch in a real way. I will keep on trying as long as I can, not for money, but because I love creating something out of nothing, through inspiration that comes from every day life, and all inspiration comes from God. Keep doing what you love and love what you are doing. God bless.

#1158363 - 11/01/19 09:08 AM Re: Copyright law [Re: JaneK]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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"He was very difficult to deal with anyway because he knows nothing about what it takes to make a song - He writes tons of lyrics (some very good) but his communication throughout the whole collab was not good and I was left holding the bag. Lyrics only writers sometimes do not understand what it takes to get a song ready for the masses to hear. It does not happen without any effort and sometimes takes a little bit of money also."

Jane, here you have hit upon the main part of this. You really have to know and ACTUALLY LIKE someone to have a decent writing relationship. When I first moved to Nashville, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. I would attend many NUMBER ONE parties (where a publishing company and a PRO like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC" would have a big party with food, drinks and speeches to celebrate a song going to number one on the charts. An interesting aspect was often when two writers were celebrating, I noticed that they wouldn't take pictures with each other. There always seemed to be other people in the picture, which would be normal, but even in small groups they wouldn;t get very close to each other. I asked a friend of mine who knew a lot of people and he said "Oh they had a fallling out years ago, and since it took years for this song to get cut, they no longer even speak to each other. So you really have to build a strong relationship FIRST before you dive into songwriting.

I've known people to torpedo cuts by their attitude and not only take themselves down, but guilt by association, takes their co-writers down with them as well. You can never control other people, so it's best to have some solid people you are friends with before you dive into co-writing.

On your particular situation, I would give you one piece of advice. WRITE MORE SONGS. You are not married to this person. It is one song and almost ALL songs are just good ideas at the time. We write them, sometimes get excited, some times are cool, most times are forgotten not long after. Move on. If he contacts you and wants to do something, fine, but if not, go to other things and forget it. Time to write something else.

MAB

#1158366 - 11/01/19 12:34 PM Re: Copyright law [Re: Everett Adams]  
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JaneK Offline
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Everett - I think if I didn't love songwriting I would find another hobby real fast! Thank you for your advice.

Marc - Good advice, I am writing more songs and enjoying the process the more I get into it.

Thank you all so much for your input.

Jane


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