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Copyright and CDBaby
Old 25th November 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Empty Planet's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Copyright and CDBaby

Hi Derek.

I just signed up with CDBaby for a project and was about to send off that creepy form and a copy of the disc to the copyright office to register my copyright for it, when I thought, Why am I doing this? Isn't the sole purpose of registering one's copyright to provide the work in a fixed form and associate it with a given date so that ownership can be verified, more or less, provided one is the actual owner? If I buy a barcode for my CD through CDBaby, and the various digital fingerprint numbers are associated with my individual tunes, though neither has anything to do with copyright per se, isn't it nevertheless accomplishing the same thing? What's missing?

What's your feeling on this?

(I've very much enjoyed your responses on this forum, btw. They've swung me over to your company for a trial run.)





Cheers.

Old 25th November 2007
  #2
Founder, CEO, President - Tunecore
 
Jeff Price's Avatar
 

Good question!

In the US in the early 70's copyright law changed - with the change in the copyright law, when your music was in a fixed medium (i.e. you wrote it down or recorded it) it was automatically protected under US copyright laws

Now on a different odd note, it is actually a federal law that you must send the library of congress a copy of your "release" for their files (spinART got notices about this).

In regards to barcodes, a barcode is simply a graphical representation of a UPC code ( a unique set of numbers associated with your album - its a "catalog" number). TuneCore provides both UPCs and bar codes free of charge (there is no reason to charge for them or ask someone to buy one)

As far as who "owns" the UPC/Bar Code - with TuneCore that UPC/Bar Code is yours for life. You can register it with Soundscan if you wish and the sales show up under your name, not TuneCore's. Other companies can give away or re-sell barcodes that are assigned to them and then are able to claim the sales from those albums are part of their "market share".

A barcode/UPC has no impact on copyright.

However, if you do not register your music via the registration form you have, it will limit your rights to the sorts of damages you can sue for if someone violates your rights.

For example, with MP3.com in the late 90's, those musical works not copyrighted with the US government via that form you have were not able to sue for compensatory damages - so not registering the work limits the damages you are able to collect but you still get a base level of protection

One thing is clear - Copyright laws in the US are way out of date and not able to keep up with the technological developments!

Jeff Price
TuneCore
TuneCore: Welcome
Old 25th November 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Empty Planet's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Thanks mucho for taking the time out for that, Jeff. Appreciate it.




Cheers.

Old 25th November 2007
  #4
Gear maniac
 
Y-Studios's Avatar
 

Good question!... I have one concerning copyrighting my next project. Do i do the form for each song or could i just do one form for the whole project?
Old 25th November 2007
  #5
Founder CD Baby
 
Derek Sivers's Avatar
 

Smile I wouldn't bother, but that's just me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Planet View Post
was about to send off that creepy form and a copy of the disc to the copyright office to register my copyright for it, when I thought, Why am I doing this?
I totally agree. There's the answer I should be giving as an advice-giver (Oh it's very important that you register all your works blah blah) - then there's my real thoughts on the subject, which you nailed exactly. With all this digital proof out there that a song was sent to the following companies on the following days, sending one to a copyright office with a fee seems silly.

For myself personally, I wouldn't bother. But then I also haven't had health insurance since 1992, eat too much peanut butter, and have been sleeping around too much this year. So don't take my advice.
Old 25th November 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Empty Planet's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Sivers View Post
For myself personally, I wouldn't bother. But then I also haven't had health insurance since 1992, eat too much peanut butter, and have been sleeping around too much this year. So don't take my advice.

Hilarious.

Many thanks.

Be well.





Old 26th November 2007
  #7
Founder, CEO, President - Tunecore
 
Jeff Price's Avatar
 

One last annoying caveat to this thread...

In 1999, MP3.com was found guilty of copyright infringement. spinART was part of a class action lawsuit against MP3.com as they stole and infringed on spinART and its artists rights

Sadly, the judge stated despite the infringement and settlement, spinART was not entitled to any of the damages money as it had not filled out that stupid form you have and mailed it in

One would have thought I would have learned my lesson, but I didn't. I still never mailed in that stupid form

Jeff Price
TuneCore
TuneCore: Welcome
Old 26th November 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 
John Suitcase's Avatar
 

On a related note, you can register a big compilation of your songs, you don't need to do each song.

Also, there are subtleties to the copyright law that are relevant to recording engineers, as well. For instance, you can copyright a recording of a work, without copyright to the underlying songs. And in situations where a studio is not paid to record a project, unless otherwise stipulated in writing, the studio retains the copyright on the recording. Basically, this means that the band can't use that recording without compensating the studio. Of course, if you're doing a recording for free, you likely expect the band to use the recording in some context. But, if they sign a big old record contract, and the label wants to release the recording you did, you are entitled to negotiate your fee, since you still own the master and rights to that recording (though not the underlying songs, of course.)

I'm not a lawyer, but this is my understanding based on reading I've done in the past. Of course, laws change, so some of that may be out of date.

A side question to CD Baby and Tunecore: What services do you work with? I have a couple of releases with The Orchard, and I know they work with about a billion services around the world (well, a lot, anyway!) I realize iTunes is big in the US, but there are other services like Rhapsody, Emusic, etc. along with lots of cell-phone services, and so on.
Old 26th November 2007
  #10
Peter Wells, SVP Operations, Customer Advocate - Tunecore
 
PeterTuneCore's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Suitcase View Post
A side question to CD Baby and Tunecore: What services do you work with? I have a couple of releases with The Orchard, and I know they work with about a billion services around the world (well, a lot, anyway!) I realize iTunes is big in the US, but there are other services like Rhapsody, Emusic, etc. along with lots of cell-phone services, and so on.
This list is all over our site, but here's a summary:

Stores you can currently choose to have your music appear in through TuneCore:
--iTunes U.S. (and substores iTunes Latino, etc.)
--iTunes Canada
--iTunes United Kingdom
--iTunes European Union
--iTunes Japan
--iTunes Australia
--iTunes New Zealand
--Amazon MP3
--Rhapsody
--Best Buy.com (comes with Rhapsody)
--Verizon (comes with Rhapsody)
--eMusic
--Napster
--Groupie Tunes
--Groupie Tunes Ringtone Service (comes with Groupie Tunes)
--Music.com (comes with Groupie Tunes)
--MUSIC VIDEOS into all iTunes stores

And for most of TuneCore's existence, you could also get into these stores without restriction, but they now no longer accept content except at their own solicitaion:
--Sony Connect
--MediaNet (formerly known as MusicNet), who were the sole delivery portal for:
Yahoo! Music
Cdigix Ctrax (on more than 30 college campuses)
iMesh (both U.S. and U.K.)
HMV Digital
Virgin Digital (both U.S. and U.K., before they both closed)
FYE Download Zone
MTV's Urge
Microsoft's Zune
MusicGremlin

And herein lies a clue as to the state of the industry, and its future. Every store TuneCore offers to its customers has to pass a rigorous examination. When a store has content, it has power. That's power they got from the hard work of the musicians, and we don't want to let anyone get a benefit from our customers' hard work unless they return it by offering fair terms, solid and reliable accounting, a stable business model and a platform that's going to survive.

This is especially true because of how we offer stores to our customers: by choice, and for a delivery fee. It's only $0.99 per album, but when you choose to have an album sent to a store, you're giving that store power and putting at risk your own hard work.

It can get tricky, you can't even trust the law. The store allofmp3.com was obeying Russian law, but they were basically ripping people off. BurnLounge was shut down by the U.S. government as a Ponzi scheme--but until that day, it appeared to be very on-the-level.

So we dig, and even then sometimes a store that does a great job cannot be accessed because they deliver through a service that, for whatever reason, can't handle the inflow. That's what happened with MediaNet. Then again, even a store with all the right looks can simply fail, like SonyConnect.

So here's a list of criteria that a store must meet before we'll strike a deal with them:

1) They can handle the volume we send them.
2) They display the album and song information accurately on their site.
3) They've proven they're as secure and hack-proof as one can reasonably expect.
4) They provide accurate, detailed, REGULAR accounting.
5) They pay in a timely fashion.
6) They're stable (will be around for a while).
7) They have reasonable deal terms.

We're very gratified that most of the stores we choose to partner with are solvent, fair, have rigorous accounting practices and, not coincidentally, account for an enormous amount of the traffic and revenues generated by legitimate digital retailers.

Let's hope they show the way--we'll be there to follow that path.

--Peter
peter@tunecore.com
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