Copyrighting a collection as Published-good or bad?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  mfaith2 2 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #27146 Reply

    mfaith2
    Participant

    Hi,
    I am a newbie and have checked all the newbie sections but can’t find answers to a few questions… I am getting ready to submit some songs, cues and instrumental tracks to music libraries so I recently copyrighted them. When it came to the question, I selected the collection as published but don’t know if that was a good or bad decision or what the ramifications are. I did get the Registration.
    –Will music libraries be less likely to be interested if the material is published?
    –Will I have other responsibilities for collecting revenue if I am the publisher, even if a music library has placed the track?
    — Also, I have not signed up with a PRO yet, still trying to decide between ASCAP & BMI, and am wondering if I should sign up as the publisher as well as the composer?
    –What does it actually mean to be the Publisher these days?
    My main interest is in having the tracks placed but I may post some with videos on you tube or submit some to Spotify or Alternative Radio. I am the composer and only artist on all the music. Any insight would be really helpful, Thanks

    #27147 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    When you register a copyright as a collection the entire collection is given one registration number as if it were a single work with multiple parts. That’s OK if you are retaining ownership of the music. For example, if you are putting the music into non-exclsuive royalty free libraries and you are the publisher.

    If, on the other hand, you are planning on pitching these tracks to exclusive libraries, who may want to own the copyright, you have a problem, especially if library A is interested in one track, library B is interested in another, and library C in yet another. Unless your music is truly spectacular it may be a situation that a library wouldn’t want to deal with.

    #27153 Reply

    mfaith2
    Participant

    Thanks Michael, I did see your reply about collections on a previous copyright thread. I am not that interested in selling my copyrights, although I would be open to it. I am more concerned about the question of “published” collection, whether that is the appropriate way to go and what the ramifications of going that route mean in this day and age of posting music online and submitting to various agencies or libraries. Also if signing up as a publisher with a PRO what additional responsibilities do I have?

    #27154 Reply

    Paolo

    I am more concerned about the question of “published” collection, whether that is the appropriate way to go

    I do a fair amount of copyrighting – and I copyright before my music is published. Published, as I understand it, basically means the music has been performed, been broadcast etc.

    In your case, you would select “published” if your music had been performed, broadcast, etc.

    I don’t know the ramifications of selecting published if the music is in fact, non-published. I would call the copyright office and ask.

    #27156 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Published, as I understand it, basically means the music has been performed, been broadcast etc.Published, as I understand it, basically means the music has been performed, been broadcast etc.

    In out context, as soon as you upload a track into the marketplace (a library) and offer it for sale it is published (or perform it as Paolo said).

    If a work has been published, the Copyright Office requires that you file copies of the “published work” with the registration. This includes digital distribution such as online sales.

    the ramifications of going that route mean in this day and age of posting music online and submitting to various agencies or libraries.

    There should be few ramifications or complications if none of the agencies or libraries is asking to administer or share your publishing. In that event they would most likely retitle the work.

    Also if signing up as a publisher with a PRO what additional responsibilities do I have?

    If you sign up as publisher, you have to register the works with your PRO as you would for your writer’s share.

    Generally, as with writers, PRO’s do not accept cue sheets from publishers. But, you do have to make sure that anyone filing a cue sheet on your behalf includes your writer AND publisher shares.

    The other option is to not register as a publisher, but to claim the publisher’s share when you register your tracks with your PRO.

    #27158 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Just a note with respect to my posts here: what I offer is my opinion only and does not constitute any form of legal advice.

    @mfaith2, there really are no simple answers to your questions. My questions to you would be the following:
    1) What are you trying to accomplish?
    2) What are you trying to avoid?
    3) What options are you trying to preserve (and why)?

    There are no “one-size-fits-all” answers. The practical answers might be different depending on whether the works involved are songs with lyrics, royalty free instrumentals, or TV cues.

    Shortcuts involve risk. You should discuss your situation with an attorney.

    #27160 Reply

    Paolo

    … as you upload a track into the marketplace (a library) and offer it for sale it is published

    thank you Michael L – I didn’t know uploading to a library = published.

    #27163 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    I didn’t know uploading to a library = published.

    See:
    The definition of “publication” in the U.S. copyright law does not specifically address online transmission. However, “publication” may include the public distribution of copies by means of electronic transmission (e.g., over the internet). The applicant, who knows the facts surrounding distribution of copies of a work, must determine whether the work has been published or not (read more).

    see:
    https://www.copyright.gov/eco/help-publication.html

    and see:

    https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ66.pdf

    #27166 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    If a work has been published, the Copyright Office requires that you file copies of the “published work” with the registration.

    I’ll amend my answer on this point. There is apparently a deposit exception for “online only” works, based on a 2010 interim regulation. I’d want to confirm that’s still the case.

    #27167 Reply

    mfaith2
    Participant

    Hi, Thanks Michael and Paolo.
    My main focus is on licensing music. Some libraries seem to require that you have proof of copyright so I made a collection of mostly instrumental “soundscapes” for different uses with names like “Rise”, “Run”, “Wonder” etc., and since I had posted them on a few websites, like Soundcloud and Soundclick, I figured that was publishing.
    fyi. The Copyright Office had concerns that the tracks were individual and let me know that to be a published collection you have to prove that “all of the tracks must have been first distributed to the public together as a digital album” either digitally or on a CD.
    Since I had no way to “prove” they had been distributed together to the public digitally, I responded that it had been first distributed on a CD.
    They then informed me of the “deposit requirement” and that to satisfy the “best edition requirement” the CD needed to be “professionally produced”.
    Having been a graphic designer for many years with a color printer that can print on CDs, I had to make a label, liner and cover that would look “professional” to them and send them 2 copies within 45 days or else start the whole copyright process over (after a year and a half!).
    Since I can do the graphic production and it is so much more cost effective to Copyright a collection, I think next time I will just make 2 professional looking CDs, submit them for Copyright as Published, and then post them online or submit them to Libraries.
    Thanks for your insights and responses!

    #27168 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    The Copyright Office had concerns that the tracks were individual and let me know that to be a published collection you have to prove that “all of the tracks must have been first distributed to the public together as a digital album” either digitally or on a CD.

    Yes, that is correct. The collection must actually be a collection. Have your “best editions” been accepted?

    I’m curious. I know that libraries ask you to aver that you are the copyright owner. Which libraries are actually requiring proof?
    Generally, libraries require that you indemnify them against any allegations of infringement.

    #27169 Reply

    mfaith2
    Participant

    Yes, they accepted the “best editions”. I also posted the tracks together as an album on Soundcloud but didn’t know if that would be sufficient. The tracks were made to go together so they actually were easily considered a collection.

    Interestingly, they sent me 2 different Registration numbers

    The first Registration Number, I received 2 weeks ago, has Title of Work: the Album Title and then Content Title: with the name of each of the songs, and then under Author Created: it lists out words, music, performance, sound recording

    The second Registration Number, I received yesterday, has just the Title of Work: the Album Title and then under Author Created: sound recording.

    I don’t know why they sent a second Registration as I have Copyrighted collections before and only got one document, similar to the first one I received.

    #27170 Reply

    mfaith2
    Participant

    I’m curious. I know that libraries ask you to aver that you are the copyright owner. Which libraries are actually requiring proof?

    I was listening to a series of interviews with owners of Music Libraries that a woman named Sarah Gavin was hosting online several years ago. There was a discussion on one of the interviews, with a panel of libraries, that some had gotten in bad situations with their clients for trusting that all rights were clearly secured by the songwriter/submitter. I am not sure which one said that they had actually started requiring proof. Some of the participants were Ourstage, Music Clout, Workshop Creative, Nimbit, Dangerbird as well as some Ad Agencies.

    #27171 Reply

    mfaith2
    Participant

    whoops, I tried to do the quote thing in my last post and forgot to close the quote…next time:)

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