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Discussion Starter #1
I know there is a lot of discussion on copy-write on these forums but what if you want to release a CD of all public domain songs on let's say CD-Baby?

I have already gone through a ton of information but so much of it pertains to copy-write of yours and others material.

thanks for any help.
btw there is very little info in the sub-forum> Legal Issues
 

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I will first say I am not a lawyer, though I have played one on TV. :lol:

The way I understand it Public Domain is free for the using. make sure you have done a copyright search, as ther eare times when a copyright is renewed. Another area to be careful is the other instruments, as long as you have recorded all the instruments yourself, and have performance releases from all the players you should be safe. You could not, for instance, use a backing track recorded by someone else with out liscening the rights.

tons of good information at www.copyright.gov.

check their downloadable forms and periodicals.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
10 things to do before releasing a CD

Hi Bill

Thanks for the good info. The whole legal process is so complicated I thought I would just do a solo PD album to sort of streamline the process and get my feet wet at the same time.

I found this Article on the Harmony Central site. I think #4,#5 and #9 are the main things to take care of legally.
http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1187960
10 Things to Do Before You Release Your Album
By Jeremy Rwakaara

Following are, in no particular order, 10 important things you need to do before you release your album:

1.) If you are hiring musicians (background singers, instrumentalists, etc.) to play on your album, you will need to make sure they fill out a Musician Release Agreement or talent release form. This agreement is not necessary for musicians that own their own record label, are performing on their own album, and will pay for and release the album themselves. It is used more for the "hired guns" than group members.

2.) All writers and publishers involved should fill out a Songwriter / Publisher Share Agreement that spells out their writer and publisher shares. This agreement is a document that all writers and publishers should sign and keep for their records. Any money made from the songs (except for money paid to the writers and publishers by their respective Performing Rights Organizations) should be split up according to what is spelled out in this agreement.

3.) All involved songwriters should fill out a Form PA and register their work (the songs) with the U.S. Copyright Office.

4.) The artists / performers or the record producer (or both), unless Musician Release Agreements have been signed, should fill out a Form SR and register the album (sound recording) with the U.S. Copyright Office. If you are the writer and performer / producer on the album, you can fill out just one Form SR instead of both forms.

5.) Register for an International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) for your songs. The ISRC is a unique international identifier for songs (tracks) on sound recordings. The ISRC functions as a digital "fingerprint" for each track. Unlike a Universal Product Code (UPC), the ISRC is tied to the track and not the carrier of the track (CD, cassette, etc). In addition, the ISRC remains allocated to a track regardless of changes in ownership. It is an extremely powerful tool for royalty collection, administration, and anti-piracy safeguards in the digital arena. The ISRC is usually inserted onto the CD master during the mastering session.

6.) If you include songs on your album that you have not written yourself (i.e. covers), you will need to obtain a Mechanical License from the Harry Fox Agency (via Songfile) that will allow you to manufacture and distribute up to 2,500 copies to the public. If you happen to know the songwriter(s) yourself, you can negotiate a fee directly with them or just write up a Notice of Intention to obtain a Compulsory License and issue it to them.

7.) If you wish to have your own UPC Bar Code, you should become a member of the Uniform Code Council. Several companies, for example CD manufacturers, will offer you a UPC Bar Code free with their services. Keep in mind that in these cases the UPC Bar Code will belong to the CD manufacturer. If you produce another album, it will not have a UPC Bar Code unless you get another free one from them or someone else. Having your own Uniform Code Council account will allow you to assign all your music-related products a unique UPC Bar Code in your company's name.

8.) As a songwriter and/or publisher, in order to get paid for the performances of your songs on radio, TV, nightclubs, in airlines, elevators, jukeboxes, etc., you should join a Performing Rights Organization (PRO). In the United States, you can join ASCAP or BMI. Another U.S. PRO is SESAC, but affiliation with SESAC is by invitation only (subject to review by their writer / publisher relations staff).

9.) As a Sound Recording Copyright Owner (SRCO – e.g. artist, producer, record label), in order to get paid for non-interactive digital transmissions on cable, satellite and web cast services, you should join SoundExchange. They are designated to collect and distribute royalty payments to member Sound Recording Copyright Owners.

10.) Add your songs to the Gracenote Media Database. When correctly updated, song titles and artist names will be displayed on media players (e.g. home stereos, computer media players, satellite and terrestrial radio, mp3 players, cell phones and other wireless devices, etc.) that take advantage of the Gracenote Media Database data. Alternatively, you could use a freedb-aware program to upload your songs into the database.

PLEASE NOTE: The contracts displayed above are for educational purposes only. As with all contractual situations, you should have your contracts drafted and/or negotiated by an experienced music business attorney who is well-versed in drafting and negotiating these types of contracts. If you need help finding an attorney, you can start by going here.
 

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If a tune is in the public domain, you don't need a mechanical license to record it. This rule covers the tune itself, not arrangements, backing tracks, or other musicians.

Tunes published before 1923 are in the public domain.
Some other tunes are, too.

Reputable CD duplicators/producers will ask you to certify that all tunes are either PD, copyrighted by you, or properly licensed. Some only ask you to sign a release to that effect. Others require you to provide copies of the licenses themselves.

(I am not a lawyer)

Here's a link to a chart that explains the rules of Public Domain.

http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Al
As I said before ,let's not get all hung up on copy-write. Everything is PD, end of story.

I am more concerned with the info in #9 and #4.
Do I need to copy-write the sound recording and is that all or do I need to have label or publishing co.?
4.) The artists / performers or the record producer (or both), unless Musician Release Agreements have been signed, should fill out a Form SR and register the album (sound recording) with the U.S. Copyright Office. If you are the writer and performer / producer on the album, you can fill out just one Form SR instead of both forms
9.) As a Sound Recording Copyright Owner (SRCO – e.g. artist, producer, record label), in order to get paid for non-interactive digital transmissions on cable, satellite and web cast services, you should join SoundExchange. They are designated to collect and distribute royalty payments to member Sound Recording Copyright Owners.
 

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bobsax: What's with "copywrite"? There is no such thing as copywrite (except when someone writes copy). The word is "copyright" when referring to ownership of intellectual property and works of art.

I don't mean to lecture but I recently saw this missuse of the word repeatedly in an article published in THE AMERICAN RAG (a trad-jazz monthly publication) and I wondered where the editor(s) was when the mag was put to print. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No offense taken

Hi Dave
Thanks for the clarification . I also wanted to clarify above that I don't need any info on copyright permissions . I would like info on copyright of sound recordings and any other issues that may pertain. (to all) Also for future searchers please keep comments on subject. thanks again
 

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You can copyright your recording. Technically it is registering the copyright with the copyright office. Copyright attaches once something is created. Registering it gives you proof. it's about $40 or so and it will take about 5 months for you to get the certificate in the mail. Check the copyright.gov website for the correct form, I think its Form PA, but there is also a circular (37??) that describes what is needed. I did it last year for my documentary video, but don't have the info here handy at work.

Dave, the editor was probably getting coffee. the state of "journalism" today is sad indeed. Many of the smaller, niche publications just don't have the budget to hire qualified people, its usually enthusiasts who "fall" into the position. i.e. how many ways have we seen Brilhart or Berg Larsen spelled in magazines? It's sad really.
 

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bobsax said:
Hi Dave
Thanks for the clarification . I also wanted to clarify above that I don't need any info on copyright permissions . I would like info on copyright of sound recordings and any other issues that may pertain. (to all) Also for future searchers please keep comments on subject. thanks again
You might think you made that clear, but you didn't. If you want help, it's best not to chastise those in a position to offer it for trying to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Al , Sorry if you were Offended. I meant no offense

I wanted to email you privately but was unable to. I am asking for help on a subject that is not addressed anywhere in the SOTW forums and I appreciate any help from you and others that pertains to the specific question. As someone who does more searching then posting I really appreciate threads that don't get to long especially with little back and forth comments that don't pertain to the subject (like this one;)) PM me if you want--Thank you again Al,Bill and Dave.
 

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Bobsax: I guess I'm still not clear as to what you want to do, other than make a CD of yourself playing public-domain music. If that's all there is, I'd make sure the titles you play are actually in the public domain, then make it and distribute it. Probably many of us have done something similar - I know I have (vanity recordings).

If you want to protect your CD from others making subsequent copies of the CD and distributing it, then that is another issue. If that's where you are going with this, then I'd advise you to seek out a good intellectual-property lawyer rather than discuss it here. Of course there is nothing wrong with discussing it here, but it appears that few, if anyone here is competent to advise you (and that is no slam on board members; "competent" in this sense merely means we lack expertise).

Another issue that I wonder about is trying to enforce a copyright on public-domain material that you perform and distribute . . . in essence, copyrighting public domain material.

To enforce a copyright (recover damages or bring criminal charges) in the U.S., one must register the work of art with the Copyright Office (Library of Congress). I know this much from my 12 years chasing video pirates for the MPAA.

I think you need a lawyer, not us. DAVE
 

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You can copyright your performance of a public domain material, its called a "Derivative work." (with it's own check off box on the form) It's the same as taking a book published before 1923, (PD) adding your own stuff to it and registering that copyright. Its the performance that is copywritten, not the actual song, anyone else can perform and record it as it is in the public domain, that specific performance of it would be protected by copyright.

I know clear as mud. lawyers, especially those with expertise in this area can be very co$tly.

If you search copyright on this forum you will find a thread I started with a link to a great explanation of the law and how it affects filmmakers, artists etc. I have it bookmarked on the otehr computer.
 

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Bill: I've heard of "derivative works" - thanks for mentioning that.

And yes, intellectual-property lawyers are expensive, but the alternative, given the cost of a per-incident infringement, is a lot more.

The subject IS as clear as mud and to avoid problems associated with this very confusing topic, I'd still go with a lawyer who specializes in this field.

OR, once I've determined the titles are public-domain, make the CD and distribute it and not worry about someone else infringing it. With the vanity recordings I've done, I didn't care whether someone copied them or distributed them with or without my permission. The end value to anyone didn't make up the cost of seeking legal advice. DAVE
 

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First off, Get a lawyer.

Also keep in mind - that even if the songs aren't public domain - you can still get a compulsory mechanical license from Harry Fox and record the songs anyway - you will just have to pay full statutory rate then.

Make sure you secure a P copyright for your CD as well to protect your sound recording. Technically as soon as it's created you have a copyright....but having it registered will help if you ever have to take someone to court over it. In fact, just get it registered...it's only something like 40 bucks to register.
 
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