What is a copyright?
Copyright protection concerns original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:
(1) literary works;
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
(7) sound recordings; and
(8) architectural works.
(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.
For more extensive and comprehensive information on copyrights go to https://www.copyright.gov/ and under copyright law review the Chapters and Appendices.
Is it necessary to register with the US Copyright Office or a service like Songuard to secure a copyright?
No. Securing a copyright does not require registering with the US Copyright Office or a service like Songuard®. Securing a copyright is an automatic process which starts with the date of creation and attaches when the original material is first put into physical, tangible, form. The fundamental purpose of registering your song with the US Copyright Office or with Songuard® is to prove, establish, and commemorate the date of creation, which is an essential evidentiary element in protecting your copyright.
How will Songuard® protect my song and how does it compare to a US copyright?
Securing a copyright is an automatic process which starts with the date of creation and attaches when the original material is first put into physical, tangible, form. The purpose of filing a registration with Songuard® is to prove, establish, and commemorate that date of creation, which is an essential element in protecting your copyright. It is this proof of the date of creation that is critical to prove authorship in the event of an infringement.
In addition to proving date of creation, a US Copyright gives you certain statutory advantages such as damages, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees, if an infringement lawsuit is filed. In the event of an infringement, you are required to have a US copyright before the case can be heard in court and in order to be entitled to the previously mentioned statutory advantages. A Songuard® registration does not provide these statutory advantages, however, when you register your song with Songuard®, you will have established and verified a date of creation regardless of when or if you decide to instigate a federal filing.
When I register a song with Songuard®, what proof will I have that I registered the song and the content with Songuard® on that date?
When you register a song with Songuard®, you will receive an email notification that Songuard® has received and documented your submission. This file will contain a digital signature and timestamp that will verify the date and time the song was registered. This is your record of the registration. In addition, your encrypted submission will also be stored on our secure servers and will be available together with a letter of verification should you ever need further proof of the date the song was registered with Songuard®. For more information on the process, click here.
Terms, Conditions and Disclaimers:
I further acknowledge and understand that registering a song or material with Songuard® cannot be construed as a formal copyright. The sole purpose of registering a song or material with Songuard® is to establish a submission date and the content of what was submitted, which establishes a date of creation. It does not provide the statutory protections that come with a US Copyright registration. In the event of a copyright dispute, when requested, Songuard® will send certified copies of the registered song or songs to whomever the customer and submitter designates, or if directed, to the appropriate Court of Record. Songuard® does not guarantee that the documentation provided will be considered evidence by a court of law.
I acknowledge and understand that Songuard® does not offer legal advice or legal services of any kind nor does it offer legal protection against any claims regarding the songs or material submitted and registered. Songuard®’s sole purpose is to document the date and the content of the song or material registered and to provide that documentation when requested by the submitter. I further acknowledge and understand that Songuard® does not file anything with the US Copyright Office or the Library of Congress nor does Songuard® access or monitor the content of the material submitted and registered.
By submitting and registering my song with Songuard® I agree to hold harmless and indemnify Songuard® and its owners from and against any third party claims arising from or in any way related to the services provided by Songuard®. This will include any liability or expense arising from any and all claims, losses, damages, law suits, judgements, litigation costs and attorney fees of any kind or nature. I understand that in the unlikely event that a highly unusual or catastrophic event occurs and a submission is lost or otherwise damaged despite the fact that Songuard® has exercised reasonable care, I agree and understand that the liquidated damages for said loss is limited to, and shall be, my original registration fee.
Submission, Storage and Retention Information:
When you register a song with Songuard®, you will receive an email notification that Songuard® has received and documented your submission. This file will contain a digital signature and time stamp that will verify the date and time the song was registered. This is your record of the registration. Your submission will also be stored on our secure servers and will be available together with a letter of verification should you ever need further proof of the date the song was registered with Songuard®. For more information on the process, click here.
Songuard® is a division of MasterWriter Inc., an established and respected company that has served songwriters and creative writers since 2003. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Songuard® will not remain in business and continue to provide the services currently offered. If for any reason Songuard® chooses to no longer provide the services currently offered, all submissions will be retained and stored on secure servers for a period of 5 years. All customers will be notified and if requested, an encrypted copy of the submissions will be sent to the customer together with a letter of verification.