General Copyright Information
What is a copyright according to the US Copyright Office?
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.
Do you have to file with the US Copyright Office to get a copyright?
No, getting 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. So if you’ve recorded your song, put it on a CD, committed it to paper, or put it in any tangible form, you have an automatic copyright.
When you register with the US Copyright office it is not to get a copyright, you already have one, it is to prove and verify the date of creation. This is the essential evidence you need to protect your copyright in the event of an infringement.
How will Songuard® protect my song and how does it compare to a US copyright?
When you register your song with Songuard you receive third party proof and verification of the date of creation which is the essential evidence and copyright protection you will need in the event of an infringement.
A US Copyright gives you the same third party proof and verification of the date of creation and copyright protection, but comes with additional statutory advantages that Songuard does not provide such as damages and attorney’s fees to name a few (for more information refer to https://www.copyright.gov).
There is another important difference, a US Copyright costs $45 for one writer and $65 for two or more.
Songuard costs $3.95 per song for however many writers there are. At that price it may sound too good to be true but Songuard is a legitimate and inexpensive way to protect your song and we’ll stand behind that.
Will putting your song on the Internet establish a date and protect your copyright?
Unfortunately the answer is no, even if you go through a distributor, it is our belief that it will not stand up in court. Our best advice is don’t release your songs on the Internet, enter song contests or send them to artists and producers if your songs are not properly protected. If you can afford it, you should register your songs with the US Copyright office, if you can’t, your next best choice is Songuard. Whatever you do, don’t put a song out there if your copyright is not protected.
What happens if Songuard goes out of business?
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.