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Copyrights, Licenses and Songs - P.4



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The Ultimate Question

We start by answering the ultimate question of "How do I insure my lyrics/song/melody will not get stolen?", here is my answer:

you really can never be sure that your lyrics will not get stolen!

However, in over 5 years of moderating SongWriting Fever Yahoo! group and 2 years working on this website I've never seen a case where someone's lyrics were stolen....I really believe almost all people in such communities are honest and act in good faith. Thieves do not stand a chance because they are by definition unaccomplished folks who wouldn't know what to do with the work they stole anyways. It helps when you protect your songs via official copyright (check P.4 for more information on that).

That being said, to fully protect yourself (meaning to protect your rights to your work in a court of law), you will definitely need to formally copyright your song or lyrics with your country's copyrights office. In USA, this is a very easy process, just visit copyright.gov

Wise Sharing

This already gives you the first hint: You need to copyright your song officially with the copyright office in your country. This gives you protection in court if someone steals your work and you file a lawsuit. Note that putting your song in any tangible form (paper, recording, publishing on a website) establishes your ownership of the song but what registering copyright officially does is giving you the extra edge of being able to claim your copyright in court.

Second hint: Always indicate clearly the license (see P.2) that you associate with the published work. This goes a long way in helping the people you share your song with understand why you share and what they are allowed and not allowed to do with the songs and lyrics you shared. In that context, it helps to note that stealing your work can actually be defined as violating the terms of the license you gave regarding this work.

Third: Always indicate your name (real name) and perhaps a link to a webpage where people can find your contact information. It is important to know who the work is copyrighted to.

Fourth: Do not sound too protective. For example, do not write "I warn anyone who tries to steal my work. I have it copyrighted!". Such snetences and attitude will provoke theives and show to everyone else that you are not open to the idea of sharing and collaboration. No one will suggest a modification or add or collaborate to the work of someone who gives such warnings.




Have fun with your songwriting and remember to keep and open mind and worry more about songwriting and getting your songs and work heard than about "protecting" your work and copyrighting.

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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.