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Copyrights, Licenses and Songs - P.1



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What Writing a Song Means

Before we talk about copyrighting your songs, we need to define what a song means or, in other words, the scope of the word "song" in the context of copyrighting.

Writing a song means effectively two distinct things:

- Writing Lyrics
- Writing Melody for the Lyrics

These two items (lyrics and melody) are the two coyrightable things in a song. Therefore, when you copyright your song it means that you now own the rights to two things: the melody of your song and the lyrics of your song. Owning the rights basically means that no one can use, publish, reprint..etc. this melody, these lyrics or thos melody or this song (melody and lyrics combined) except after explicit permission from you.

It is also important to note that copyrighting a song does not mean you own the rights to the chord progerssion, to the arrangement (instrumentation)...etc. For example, you can't claim that someone stole your idea of using violins in the background!

Also, playing a song, singing a song, recording a song...all this doesn't entitle you to any share in copyright. It may entitle you to royalties (which is a totally different story) but it does not mean in any way that you own any rights to the song. This is very important to understand: those who own the rights to a song (own copyright) are those who wrote the lyrics and the melody.

Essentially, if you wrote some lyrics and you hummed them in a simple melody then you own 100% of the rights to the song. If you wrote the song with someone else (for example, you wrote the melody and someone else wrote the lyrics), then you both share copyright of the song. Essentially, the song is owned by both of you. The issue of how to prove you are the copyright holder/owner is discussed in P.4.

Now that you own copyright, how do you tell other people what they are allowed to do with your songs? Proceed to P.2 for more on that issue.



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Important: This is not legal advise. SongWritingFever.com is not liable to any consequence resulting from decisions you make based on what is written above. We strongly advise to consult a lawyer.