How to Get Rights to Use a Song?
How to get rights to use a song learning the peculiarities of the rights to a song + getting the mechanical license to use a song?
You are an aspiring writer of songs and you wish to get rights to a song in order to protect your musical compositions, don’t you?
Perhaps, you are a singer who starts his singing career and you do not have your own songs yet?
Then read our article on how to get rights to a song in the United States of America.
How to get rights to a song discovering what the author’s rights are?
The U.S. Government states that “the author’s right is the form of protection which is based on the Constitution of the United States of America and is provided for the original authors’ creations which are recorded with the help of the tangible medium of expression.
The protection concerns both published and unpublished works”.
How to get rights to a song learning everything about the author’s rights in the USA?
- In the Unites States both published and unpublished compositions, which belong to the US authors and composers from other countries, are protected by law.
- In order to be protected, the creation must be recorded in any material form.
- The main kinds of creative work in the USA are:
- A piece of writing;
- A musical composition;
- A dramatic work;
- Pantomime and choreographic notation;
- Works of graphic and sculpture;
- Video and audio compositions;
- A piece of architecture
The computer programs are also protected in the USA like the piece of literature.
- Things which cannot be protected in the USA by the copyright:
- Works which were not recorded in the material form (such as spokesman’s speech, choreographic performance which were not recorded);
- Names and titles, short phrases and slogans;
- Ideas, procedures, methods, concepts, principles and devices.
- In order to get rights to a song in the USA, one will need:
- To file an application form,
- To pay the fee,
- To deposit a copy of the composition.
The USA foresees not only the registration but also the so-called preregistration of the copyright.
Preregistration is required in case you have not finished the work yet but already wish to protect it.
For instance, you should file a preregistration application of the rough copy of the book or the unfinished computer program.
How to get rights to a song in the Library of Congress?
The certificate of registration in the Library of Congress has the international status and its authority simplifies the solution of many arguments concerning copyright not only in the USA but in the government bodies of most countries of the world.
Moreover, another benefit of the registration in this organ is the speed of registration using the online application, the possibility to track its status on the Internet, relatively low fee and, surely, the access to the portal 24/7.
The U.S. Copyright Office is doing the registration directly.
Here one can record any piece of work which covers the law about copyright of the USA: pieces of literature, music, software and games, maps and pictures, catalogs and reference books, etc.
In order to learn how to get rights to a song successfully one should submit:
- The completed special application form, the example of which you can easily find on the website of the Library of Congress;
- You must pay the state tax of $35;
- Add the copy of your creation in the electronic format and/or on the material medium.
There are no special demands to the format of the work.
The advantages of having author’s rights
- The fact of ownership is established on the international level.
- The fact that the work is protected by the copyright is settled and all third parties are warned about the responsibility for the illegal use of this composition.
You’ll get the chance to have the recovery of compensation, which is required by the law of a certain country, including the legal costs.
Without such registration, the compensation is limited only by the actually proved loss.
- The owner has a possibility to prevent the import to certain countries of the copies, which were created by the trespasser.
If an interested party has a desire to dispute the rights, they must prepare the evidence.
If there is an argument concerning copyright, the presence of the certificate from the Library of Congress will be respected more and will have a bigger influence in most courts of the world.
It should also be reminded that the certificate will last for the author’s lifetime (or if there are several authors, the duration of life of the one who dies last) + 70 years more.
How to get rights to use a song?
As a result of the huge development of the musical industry in the USA, the singers, who just started their careers, often sing the songs which belong to the popular singers.
In order to do it, these singers must get the mechanical license which is rather widespread in the USA.
You can find out how to get rights to use a song on the websites of the specialized companies such as Harry Fox Agency.
The mechanical license allows performing and spreading the protected by the copyright musical compositions (songs) on the CDs, gramophone records, cassettes, like the ringtones and make them available for download in the digital format and allows listening to them online on the special services (iTunes and so on).
The mechanical license is also suitable for creating and spreading the records of the cover-versions if the main melody and text of the original composition are not changed significantly.
As a rule, the fee to get the mechanical license is rather small and can depend on the supposed number of downloads of the cover, the length of the chosen song, the kind of service where you are going to publish the cover and other suchlike conditions.
Nevertheless, regardless of all attractiveness of such kind of license, the newcomers are often mistaken about the complete terms of using the material according to this mechanical license.
It’s important to remember that mechanical licenses concern only songs which were created and spread in the USA and people can use them only on the territory of the USA.
If you wish to create and spread your cover version of a song:
- Get the permission from the author(s) or owner(s) in case your situation does not presuppose the possibility to pick the free usage of the composition; fix the permission in the license agreement; check attentively all significant terms and conditions of the agreement and pay attention to the term “cover version” as well as to the detailed description of the ways how you’ll be able to use it.
If you cannot find the owner, it still does not allow you using the composition.
In this situation, you should consult a specialist or the organization of the collective direction of the author’s rights.
- The license, which was given in one country, does not necessarily work in another one.
- If you are the author and you let other people create and spread covers, you won’t probably be able to forbid them later because the person who created the cover version has rights to use a cover.
All methods, which were described above, concerning how to get rights to a song, are suitable for all authors who wish to protect their creative work from theft and illegal use.
The beginners and those who plan to learn how to use a musical composition for their own purposes must study the rules how to get the mechanical license properly.
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