Why You Shouldn’t Let Fear of Copyright Infringement Get in the Way of Your Music Career

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Why You Shouldn't Let Fear of Copyright Infringement Get in the Way of Your Music Career[This article was written by guest contributor Anthony Ceseri.]

For some basic information on copyright for musicians, check out our articles:

* What is a Musical Copyright?

* How to Copyright Your Music

Editor’s note: At CD Baby, it’s not uncommon for us to talk to one or more artists every week that don’t want to let anyone hear their music because they’re fearful of copyright infringement. This article is intended to help those folks feel more comfortable about getting their music out there. In it, Anthony discusses opinions on copyrighting your music — but it should not be considered legal advice. If you’re unsure about how the copyright laws in your country will affect you, please contact a lawyer before proceeding.

A lot of songwriters have a fear of putting their songs out into the world. A big aspect of that fear is that songwriters are afraid that if they put their songs out there  — where ANYONE can hear them — another songwriter will come along and steal their music. And that would be a great injustice.

Because of that, I want to discuss why that fear is a tad irrational. Let’s start by talking about what would have to happen in order for your song to be stolen and for you to be willing to take legal action.

First of all, someone has to find your song before they decide to steal it. If you’re not great at marketing your music, building a fan base, and driving traffic to your songs, that’ll be hard for them to do, because of the few people who actually hear your music, most of them won’t be thieves. But that in itself probably isn’t a great argument, so let’s move on to the next point.

When it comes to music publishers, if your song’s good, most of them would simply prefer to publish your song instead of stealing it and potentially having to defend themselves in court one day.

When it comes to another songwriter stealing your work, he would have to steal your song and be pretty strict about sticking to what you wrote in order for it to become an issue. You can’t really copyright phrases used for titles or overall song ideas. So if someone wrote a song about the same subject you did, they’re probably within their rights to do so. Besides, the idea itself isn’t as important as how that idea is developed into actual words and music. That’s where the true artistry comes into play.

If you have a fresh new idea, but simply didn’t develop it well, it’s unlikely anyone would want to lift it from you. However, if someone realized you had a cool idea and decided to develop it differently than you did (in the way he wrote his lyrics and music) it would not constitute any copyright infringement as long as he didn’t take your specific words or music when crafting his own song based on your song’s idea. On the other hand, If someone took your melody, or your exact lyrics, that’s a different story. That would be a copyright infringement.

Your music also has to be damn good for it to be “worth” stealing in a thief’s eyes in the first place. If you’re someone who’s never posted your music online (or anywhere else), it’s possible you’re fairly new to songwriting and have more work to be done before you’re crafting songs people love anyway.

Having said that, I’m not saying there aren’t scenarios where songs get lifted, because of course it can and does happen. I’m simply saying that obscurity is a much bigger problem than theft among aspiring songwriters. So if your fear of theft is holding you back, you’re greatly hindering your chances of success. You have to get your music out there. It’s the only way you can succeed.

I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t protect your work. And I’m not saying you should just throw up tons of unprotected music up on the web. But I AM telling you not to get stuck on the other end of that spectrum either. Don’t be so afraid to show people your music because of a crippling fear that someone will steal it and you won’t know what to do if that happens, because that fear WILL prevent your success as a songwriter.

People have to hear your work if you want to be successful. It will greatly hinder your success if you take the mindset of a fearful songwriter. Instead, find that happy medium on the spectrum, where you’re protected, but you’re also promptly releasing all your music to your fans so they can continue to love what you’re doing.

For a lot more useful songwriting information, grab my free EBook here: http://successforyoursongs.com/freeoffer/

What do you think? Have you ever had one of your copyrights infringed upon? How did it get resolved? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • SHUTTYY

    THATS ALL FINE. BUT WHAT IF SOMEONE TAKE THE RECORDING AND SELLS IT? WHAT THEN? OR WHAT IF SOMEONE SENDS YOUR SONG TO THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS?

  • SHUTTYY

    WOW. NO ANSWERS? OKAY.

  • I was on vacation all last week. Just getting to the comments again. Sorry for delay.

    @ChrisRobley

    • SHUTTYY

      OH. SORRY. I DIDNT SEE MY COMMENT. NOW I SEE IT. AND THANKS.

  • In either of those events, I'd say you should get a lawyer on your side and start putting together your case to prove that you wrote the tune first. http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2013/05/how-to-copy… outlines a very easy process to document your copyright with the Library of Congress, so one solution is to send in your music to them as soon as it's written/recorded/mixed/whatever step in the process makes you feel safest.

    @ChrisRobley

    • SHUTTYY

      OK. IM A DUMB DUMB. I GET IT NOW. I THOUGHT U WERE SAYING TO PUT OUT SONGS THATS HAVEN’T BEEN COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. COOL. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

  • Also, documenting your copyright with LoC ensures that if the first thing ever happens, and someone starts selling your music, you're guaranteed a basic minimum in compensation if you can prove infringement.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Ha. Nope. Not exactly; just saying that folks shouldn't be SO afraid to start making use of their music before they get their copyright documented with LoC. Always a good idea to do so, though! Not sure how clear that was clear from the article.

    @ChrisRobley

    • SHUTTYY

      GOT IT. THANKS. VERY HELPFUL.

  • In the US, it doesn't — or doesn't HAVE to — hold up in court. Yes, you own your copyright as soon as the music is fixed in a permanent format, but you should still document it with the Library of Congress. That's the best way to ensure you get certain basic, minimum compensation if your rights have been infringed upon.

    @ChrisRobley

    • RoB

      Right, thanks for the answer man (its super cool of you to take the time to answer our comments, kudos sir)… I think I slightly remember the DIY podcast episode about this, so like what you’re saying is (correct me if I’m wrong) if anyone would get their music copied and they go to court, even if they have the evidence that they made the song before the other person, it won’t count for any loss of money (or whatever the technical term is) ocurred due to the copyright infringement?!? Or do I got it all wrong?! Thanks Chris, you rock man

    • BOSSsaxman

      Chris – All you say is Spot On! Any songwriter who doesn’t first protect their art thru copyright is potentially “asking for it.” Been in this game 50 yrs and, yes, the thieves ARE out there! Protect you Art FIRST. And, no, a ‘Poor Man’s Copyright’ [mailing a copy to yourself and leaving it sealed] will not hold up in court against a LoC copyright filed correctly. This I know from dreaded personal experience in my early days – learned it ‘The Hard Way’ BUT, to copyright songs is not that expensive. Song by song . . . yes, perhaps. Still a songwriter can copyright a ‘Collection’ of songs under one title [ala an Album] for only the price of ‘one song’ ‘All’ songs in the ‘Collection’ are fully and independently copyrighted. I find ‘zero’ excuse to forgo the LoC binding copyright procedure. Also the Musicians Union in America has ‘agreements’ w/ most countries around the globe to honor ‘International’ copyrights. No – you don’t have to be a Musicians Union member . . . they just set the mark to protect ‘all’ musicians.. Join if you wish, if not – don’t. I joined 50 yrs ago. I don’t regret that choice.

    • Gary E. Andrews

      Mailing it to yourself in a registered package will not get you a hearing in federal court. ONLY registration with the LOC can do that.

  • RoB

    Hey Chris (thanx for all the helpful advice BTW) what would you say about sending the music to yourself in a registered package? I spoke with a guy who wrote poems once and he said it was a good alternative. Thanks in advance

  • JAMES WATKINS

    SAXOPHONIST JAMES R.WATKINS ON BASSIST JAMAALADEEN TACUMA BANDS JAMAAL AND COSMETIC ,HAS FILED A MULTI DEFENDANT LAWSUIT IN FEDERAL COURT AGAINST TOWER, AMAZON AND MORE

    • Ian Olsen

      How did that turn out? Did you manage to buy a new keyboard, seems that one theres caps lock was stuck….

  • TonyTengs

    In the book publishing world, if a work can be proven to have been stolen or infringed upon, the only damages one can recover are the maximum the sales of the work sold by the infringing party. The far more lucrative punitive damages can only be obtained from copyrighted works. Is this scenario the same for songs?

  • wow, Chris, you are exceedingly patient with the ALL CAP PEOPLE! I admire your professionalism. 🙂

    Beyond that, I really appreciated this article. It’s something I’ve felt strongly about for a while now. You put things much more tactfully than I would’ve, so thank you. 🙂

    The amount of writer-friends I have who have had material stolen or borderline infringed upon is …NONE, while the amount of writer-friends who are hyper protective of their material is, well, a lot more common….

    Great article. Cheers!

  • DJ X TECH

    Just to add onto this article a little bit… This is something I learned way back when. In liu of an actual registered copyright with the LOC is if you’re afraid of your music being stolen then what you could do is take a finished CD and a data CD with all of your original work on it and send it to your self in a sealed envelope and just stash it somewhere. The postmark with the date on it will prove that you had the original text, sound, graphics and whatever else before the date on the postmark. This is completely admissible evidence in court should an occasion like that arise. I’m not sure what a copyright costs these days but this method is obviously a less expensive way to go if you’re worried about money as well.

    • Gary E. Andrews

      A poor man’s copyright will NOT be heard in federal court. ONLY a registration with the LOC can get a hearing.

    • Certified letter is only one form of the “poor man’s copyright” – You can get time-verifyable evidence hundreds of other ways with today’s technology.

  • Mark

    Thanks for another great article for those of us who are trying to maneuver through this wacky world of art! Something I found out that’s very comforting: your copyright application can be submitted online, and the date on your submission documentation is the legal date of first copyright claim. Also, the LoC copyright office will send you an acknowledgement of receipt of your online submission, which is further verification of when you can claim first copyright. This is really nice to know, considering that the actual hard copy copyright certificate can take (in my case, anyway) up to two years (yes, years!) to arrive, and never less than six months. In the interim, I’m legally protected because I can claim copyright from the date on my submission documentation and the LoC acknowledgement of the submission.

  • I like your common sense observations. The copyright office points out
    that your material is copywritten when you created it, “registering” a
    copyright gives it a fixed date of origination. However, let’s say
    someone stole me unregistered song, “Apples” and even took the title. I
    can also register “Apples” and fix my date of origination to whatever I
    can prove. The internet has been a great resource for date of
    origination. In a big battle over these things, you might need more than
    timestamps from the internet. Actual testimony of your fans having
    heard it, or your videos of performances, and dozens of other methods
    can show you are the owner of “Apples” Lastly, I can recall only once of
    ever hearing of a “hit song” ending up in court and that song was
    hinging on a musical phrase–the hook of the music–for proving it was
    ripped off. Here’s what you get when you look it up:http://www.fairwagelawyers.com/most-famous-music-copyright-infringment.html

    • Gary E. Andrews

      Registration is the ONLY way to get into federal court. There will be no hearing without it. No documents will be presented. No fans or friends will testify. No federal judge will hear it without a registration.

  • tommy_marcinek

    Some copyright tips: You can copyright a whole bunch of songs at once, all for just the 35 dollar copyright fee. Just put them into a compilation and give it a name, something like "my first album complete works" etc. It's easy. You can put all you songs on one track for the online upload to the copyright office, then bounce the entire track to a very low bitrate mp3 so it fits their upload limits and you're done. The quality will be very poor if your project is big but that doesn't matter. As long as you can hear the song, that's all the proof you'll need should you one day in the distant future find yourself as the plaintiff in a lawsuit securing your rights to your music. Hope this advice helps out. Peace. Tommy Marcinek

    • Tommy, thanks for the tips!

      @ChrisRobley

      • tommy_marcinek

        No problem….hope the info is helpful to lots of fellow song-writers. 🙂

    • Rick Almeida

      wow i never thought of that

    • Will Jenkins

      I heard this, too. In fact I did it. I've heard that if some one rips off a few of your songs though, you can still only be compensated for one copyright violation. I've also heard you could go back and do each one separately. If so, I assume the individual copyrights would only be good from the date each one was granted.

      Does anyone know about this?

      • tommy_marcinek

        Copyright Law is one of the smallest laws (in terms of how much space is given to it in the United States Code) ever. You can read it yourself in no time at all. EACH song that is ripped off, regardless of how you copyrighted it (whether in a compilation like an album, works, collective, or individual songs) is protected. Think about it. You have a CD. ALL those songs are YOUR individual creations. If someone rips off only one it's a violation. If they rip off two, that's two violations. The law is simple. I was once one who feared being ripped off because I think my songs are stellar, but I got over that when I realized that I am protected by U.S. law. As to this very discussion here on this page, if nobody hears your music you don't stand a chance of getting it noticed. Let it be heard. You worked hard at your craft. Fear not and get your stuff out there lest you wrote your music for nobody. Later….Tommy Marcinek

        • Will Jenkins

          Thanks for the response. It seems to me what you say is the way it should be.

          But then, I copyrighted 20 songs for $35. Why would anyone pay $700 to do each one individually.

    • Chai Rae An

      Very good advice thank you.

    • seriousfun

      Oh, please. NEVER do that.

      It makes the work nearly impossible to find by other artists and publishers, and can not serve to protect you in most cases.

      This is very old – almost forty years – news that is false and shouldn’t be spread.

      Yes, registering each song takes time and money, but if you are going to release songs to the public, you need to take this vital step.

  • I completely agree. Thanks for sharing your advice.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Hmm. Not sure about the rules of that contest — but it was probably a way for them to ensure that they were judging the work based on the skills/merits of the songwriter, instead of having to wonder which parts might be borrowed. As for using public domain poems and/or music in your own work… love it! (As long as you give credit to those long-dead folks in the liner notes).

    @ChrisRobley

  • Not sure about how reverse engineering plays into a copyright case, but I'd recommend saving all your drafts anyways, just because sometimes a little scrap of discarded material can be the seed for a whole new work.

    @ChrisRobley

    • Will Jenkins

      Yes! I've had this happen. I also review them on occasion to gain insight into my own creative process.

  • Chuck

    Song theft happens every WEEK in Nashville (and every day elsewhere)! Against my advice, our group put our songs on a website (r….) two years ago and actually had a song thief tell us how much he appreciated the new ideas he could write from! Balance is the key… don't be afraid, be intelligent – copyright 1st, produce a provable CD, then send your songs to the world! A recent top 10 song was originally co-written by a close friend 10 years ago… his Co-writer recently rewrote their song with 2 new co-writers and got it recorded by a major act. My friend got 0 credit for the song (so far…!). Song thieves, be careful what you steal – it can come back to bite you before you know it!

  • Will Jenkins

    I’ve used entire poems in songs. Poems like “Stopping by the Woods” by Robert Frost and “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazulus. These are both in the public domain, so I believe I’m not infringing on anyone. I sang the ‘New Colossus’ song called ‘Lady Liberty’ in a contest once. The crowd roared at the end, and the two female judges appeared star struck. But the male judge sat there with arms crossed and a big frown on his face. I didn’t make it to the second round. I eventually realized that he must have considered my use of the poem to be in violation of the rule stating my song must be entirely my own work. I thought this rule was meant to avoid legal complications for the contest and the poem was in the public domain anyway.

    What’s your take on this?

    • Chris

      Ahem, ‘Stopping by the woods’ is still in copyright, just look at the hassle Eric Whitacre had trying to get clearance from the Frost estate…he didn’t.

  • Will Jenkins

    By the way, I’ve also read that it is very difficult to ‘reverse engineer’ a song, so you should always save all your rough drafts in case you wind up in court. Is there any truth to this?

    • Gary E. Andrews

      The more backup documentation you can bring to federal court, the better.

  • Randy Hansen

    Great article that makes solid points. I've always found it mildly amusing when someone doesn't want to let others hear their songs because they are afraid someone will steal it. I host a monthly songwriting critique session and there's always someone who turns up and is wary for that reason. I have to smile at their ego because, as the article delicately points out, few songs are actually good enough to even warrant thievery. And even if someone steals it, it's a long road to success in the music biz and chances are slim they will ever make a dime from it. I hate to always be the bearer of bad news, but the chance of you making any money in the music world, let alone becoming a star, are almost nil. Put that stuff out of your mind, write songs that you care about and share them with whoever you fill comfortable with. You'll be a lot happier believe me. BTW- I always tell people I'd be honored if someone thought enough of one of my tunes to actually lift any of it.

    • Exactly. The odds are already against you. No need to NOT play your songs out of fear.

      @ChrisRobley

      • I actually put rehearsal versions of my new songs on YouTube and Vimeo before I play them in a bar. It is time-verifyable evidence!

  • Thanks! As for your question, (and I'm not a lawyer — so best to re-consult the podcast for exact terms) having your copyright registered with LoC guarantees you a minimum in damages awarded for infringement. That's not to say that you WON'T be awarded damages in a case where it's proved through other means than the LoC registration that you own the copyright to a song that was stolen, just that it's not guaranteed.

    @ChrisRobley

  • The "poor man's copyright" — the method you just described — holds up better in some countries than others. It's no guarantee of victory in an infringement case in the United States. So it's always best to just document your copyright with the Library of Congress. If you send your tunes in as an album or collection, it's cheap and easy!

    @ChrisRobley

  • Ralph Asbury

    Certainly not a good idea to let fear of being ripped off stop you from spreading the word of your music to the world for the reasons addressed in the article. However, one thing that is often not made clear about this subject is how and when your work is “protected.”

    In short, your song becomes legally yours once it is in a tangible form. That means that the words belong to you as soon as you write them on a piece of paper, and the music belongs to you as soon as you either record it or write out sheet music. In other words, once it outside your head and in a form that others can see, read, or hear it.

    So what do you need to do to protect it? Technically, the law says you are protected as soon as you create the work, but if an issue arises you have to prove it. The best way to do this is to simply keep dated accounts of your work, and file copyright registrations for your work. Dated account of your work is easier nowadays with all this electronic media and holds up better in court than the old school approach of writing the date on the top of your paper.

    Filing registrations is the best protection, although not required to protect your work, and is quite cheap to do. You can file a single registration for essentially as many songs as you can fit on a single CD, which is a lot unless you write 2 hour songs. Keep in mind that when you send in your registration, nobody is going to review your songs are check them against anything else to see if they are original. They are simply kept on file in the event of a dispute.

    At the end of the day, if you have a problem, all you need to do is show when you created the work, and that the accused had access to it. Fairly simple in most cases, very uncommon in the first place, and not much to worry about in the long run.

    • Jonathan Schwier

      In response to your generalization regarding digital verification via the computer/electronic media and how it validates your claim as author of a work without the need to submit a work to the library of congress, it does not always hold up in court. It depends on the judge overseeing the court case. Now in 2013, judges sometimes only honor the files submitted to the library of congress. The “poor man’s copyright” can be respected or reputed based on the whim of a judge. We all know the official copyright rules; therefore, assuming that the law will be administered via electronic media/personal computer verification ought not to be assumed. At least that’s what a nashville songwriter told me about two months ago. The first thing a music publishing company does when it finds a song of interest is to check the library of congress and see if it’s protected. Protect your work guys. Don’t let them steal, and don’t assume the best of an industry that thrives on auto-tune, backing tracks, tele-prompters, and studio musicians who play all the parts on these albums. It’s pretty deceptive.

    • Gary E. Andrews

      You cannot bring suit in federal court, where federal copyright cases are heard, without a registration. The law does NOT say you are protected as soon as you create your work. You own it as soon as it is put in fixed form, but only registration with the Library of Congress will enable you to get into federal court. Your dated accounts will help, IF you can get to court. But a registration is the ONLY way to get a federal judge to allow the case to be put on the docket for hearing.

  • Anastace,

    Thanks! And yes, of all the musicians I know, only one of 'em has had a song stolen. It was a fairly high profile thing, but… ya know — out of hundreds or thousands of musicians that I've met, those are pretty good odds that you're safe.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure it's similar. Registering copyright with LoC guarantees a certain minimum in punitive damages should you win the case.

    @ChrisRobley

    • Gary E. Andrews

      I seem to recall that minimum of punitive damages being $10,000. If they’ve made more money, like “Rhapsody In Blue” (I think) which made $10 milllion in 2010 (I think), then you’d be entitled to all or a share of those earnings. Registration also enables recovery of attorneys’ fees, a great incentive for a lawyer to take your case.

  • Jonathan Schwier

    Thanks for the ideas, but I disagree on much of your rationale. I’m a professional guitarist who makes a living touring, but I’m certainly not famous. I went to school for music, and basically am a show band player. The point is that I’ve been immersed in the music business since my graduation about 12 years ago, so my opinion might hold more water than a weekend warrior guitarist who has a day job and plays music for enjoyment.

    The first point I’d like to make is that I had my music stolen on the internet but within a different context. I published my own CD via CD Baby, and it ended up on a music sharing site someplace in Asia. CD Baby claims that they had nothing to do with this, but it cannot be proven. The tunes were originals/public domain. I ended up having to file a complaint to the Federal Government Internet Fraud website in order to have my music removed from this sharing site. It worked like this: People would pay eight bucks per month and be able to download all the songs they wanted for no additional charge. The artists were not being paid. Of course, since I am not well known, the site “stole” less from me than the famous artists also on the site. It took about 6 months for this site to be terminated. I’m not sure if the gov’t actually got involved or if the domain just expired naturally. I never received any response to my filing, so I have no idea what came of it. Let me mention this too. Since I am so unknown, the only people who purchased this CD were friends/family. This leads me to wonder who actually shared my music to the public. If not CD Baby, then who? My sister? I don’t think so.

    The second point I’d like to make relates to your specific arguments you made in regard to why musicians ought to not fear the act of putting music on the net. Basically, you’re saying not to worry about people taking your songs because copyright law doesn’t protect your songs much anyway. ie. changing a bit of the lyric or melody exempts them from liability. You mentioned that most songwriters using CD Baby probably don’t have much of a name, so nobody will be hearing (and therefore stealing) the tunes? This rationale suggests that once a fan base gets built, there will be a threat of others stealing good material. Since the point of putting music out there resides in the goal of building a fan base, your argument indirectly implicates that we ought not to put our music there in the first place?

    In conclusion, I’d like to warn musicians that the age of progress and digital technology, while having it’s merits, does not necessarily assist musicians as much as it threatens us. we live in an age where everyone shares (or steals), the law does little to dissuade it, and once you put your stuff on the net it becomes accessible to all. Since the government, which supposedly protects our work, has been shown to be stealing personal information from all of us (patriot act), I would be reluctant to assume that they will go to bat for you once your music gets taken. The only option is to put it out there and let them have it for free or to be John Galt and sit on your work to make a point. I for one would rather be John Galt.

  • Gary E. Andrews

    Some famous songs were written by amateurs who never wrote another one. And some of those were stolen from the writer by someone who heard it and knew the amateur had created a salable piece of art, and that it could be stolen. Being concerned about the possibility of being robbed is not irrational. We lock our doors. We put locks on our gas caps on our cars. We use passwords on the internet because the world is full of thieves. The ONLY way to protect a piece of intellectual property from thieves is by registration with the Library of Congress. That registration, and nothing else, can get an infringement suit considered by a federal judge. Judge Judy ain’t hearin’ this one! Copyright law is federal law. If a thief heard an amateur with a piece of art the thief knew was marketable, and the thief recorded it with their cell phone, and then the thief registered the work with the LOC, the writer would have to register the work themselves before there would be any possibility of getting a hearing. Then the thief’s registration, with a date preceding the writer’s, would look pretty good. The plaintiff would have to prove the thief had access to steal it. Backing documentation, written lyric sheets with the date of creation, recordings, with dates, and some documentation of the means of access the thief used, can all help to prove the case. But ONLY registration can get you a hearing. If you have registration you can recover attorneys’ fees, a big incentive for a lawyer to take your case. Register your works, and you can play live, sell CD’s, even let others record you, with confidence that, if someone steals your work and is making money with it, you can take them to court.

  • Thankfully they have legalized the holographic copyright (informally called poorman’s copyright, but even the National Football League uses it) since the 1970s. It’s easier than ever to create time-verifyable evidence because of the internet. Being on digital distribution makes over 12 corporate witnesses to the content. Of course library of congress is the best and should be done eventully, but you definitely still have recourse if you havn’t gotten around to registering before the plagiarasm takes place.

    • Good, hopeful info but there’s a lot of confusing and conflicting advice out there. Release for free, but also (pay to*) distribute to iTunes, etc. Do iTunes buyers ever come along angry that it’s also up for free (not just pirated, but “officially”)?

      Do I worry too much? (Like most on this page? Hah.) I think early music released for free makes sense, but should one also distribute for pay on iTunes, etc. … so many things for me to wonder! (Credit to Adam Sandler and/or Mixed Nuts for that line.)

      *It’s not the paying to distribute that I mind, and I’ve picked my service for the future, but things like when and other details. Sigh. 🙂

  • feeliama

    It still hurts when someone steals your ideas. NO matter if it is legal or not. Major Label artist troll the internet and build on your stuff ALL THE TIME! DO NOT POST YOUR MUSIC! SELL IT ONLY!

    • As someone who always only wanted herself to perform her songs/lyrics and get her own darned applause I AM _somewhat_ fearful of this. Though not enough (that’s not why I’m nascent, it’s been time learning computer composing/editing) to scare me from leaping.

      Here’s a ray of hope: I guess one can make a public smear campaign with online and backed-up proof. These days, the original upload dates can be all over, and I’d guess a good smear revenge against some criminal performer could mean reputation all over for big bad guy? I dunno, I’m pretty good at geekery, so I might be slightly better off than some.

      And not all songwriters just want to sell songs in the way I assume you’re thinking, except maybe through mp3s/CDs, because we can be performers too. I just always wanted my own glory; not some cash and some mouthpiece to basically get MY credit or fans … but I’ve been working a long time toward being able to compose and it’s finally coming along REALLY well…

      Btw, I’m not arguing against copyright, I’m just not yet sure how I’m personally going to bundle things. And I keep wondering what the best use of my family/partner’s money is. I don’t have any $; I have loved ones invest. I’m lucky but then again broke. Hah.

      Just temporary copyright-related dilly-dallying because of the detail about the title of a collection and paying once per submit makes me nutso-cheap – hoping for some epiphany. I hate that we have to title it as a collection and seemingly not just “my lyrics catalog so far” then later with music and melodies. I was thinking just lyrics to start because even the voice parts change as I finalize mixing, etc. (some lyrics too but c’est la vie – it’s much easier to just upload basic re-types and not mind any “loss” from that – well I only guess, sigh), so I am really unsure about making acapellas to copyright. Hm.

      I’m still not evensure the final song list for my first EP (would cost more per song this new way of releasing smaller) and will release (maybe all) songs alone before it. Just thinking about that sometimes but I’m worried more about MAKING the completed music.

      I’m even nervous publishing this little unknown info to your comments. Because “humanity,” I guess. For a second. I really just have to actually get back to work! 🙂

  • Will Jenkins

    I heard exactly the opposite. Indeed, I heard that it had be in the public domain for some time. Thanks. I never heard of Eric Whitacre, but I'll see what I can google up.

  • I am definitely in the "do it all" camp: free, subscription streaming, downloads, physical CDs, etc. Sure, tons of people are consuming music for free on Spotify and Rdio, but iTunes still dominates in terms of online digital music revenue, which means many many many many folks are buying downloads. And in many countries around the world, the CD is still the preferred format (not to mention, it's the easiest thing to sell at gigs). So you should do it all, because your fans are all going to have their own preferred method of music consumption. The iTunes customer probably isn't going to go on Spotify to find you. The Spotify subscriber probably isn't going to buy your music from iTunes. The one who loves CDs isn't going to download your music. When you're everywhere, you can reach them all.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Donna

    Of course they dont take YOUR SONG they STEEL your idea, which is just as unethical so keep your ideas and pitch your songs quietly to those you know and TRUST. Although, I have a singer now who has my songs I have written being sold on cd baby and itunes and is not paying me a dime. IDEAS are worth money folks!!!! Any one in any kind of business knows this, esp. the music business! As a writer and not a performer, you must TAKE HEED!

  • Brandon Joel Parta

    i uploaded a song last year, someone stole the idea a few months later, changed the words but used the same title and theme of the song. i did not copyright it as i should but i know my song was uploaded first and its an artist from my area which i am positive heard my song first what should i do?

    • You own the copyright regardless of your registration of that copyright with the LoC. If you can prove that you uploaded it first, that may give you some support for your argument. However, there are no guaranteed minimum damages (should you win the case) without the LoC registration.

      • Brandon Joel Parta

        Ty Mr Christopher! All though I can’t seem to find the upload date on CD baby just the year released