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Anybody know how to copyright a song?


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in Canada, as long as you can somehow prove that you wrote the song you have the copyright.

Legitimate way?

Send a copy to yourself via. registered mail. realistically, this isn't even encessary.

be thorough with your file labelling on your computer, date written documents, put your work up online.

Give it a presence and you'll have clout.

SOCAN helps you get paid for your work being played on radio, television, in bars, or other public places.

If you're writing pop music and someone else writes the lyrics, get it published in Sweden. There it's all about the discernible melody.

Here though, you have the copyright as soon as it's written. If you have to take it to court then the little details as mentioned above will certainly help.

Working/licensing in the USA? Smithsonian Institute.

I get the feeling that you're trying to keep your intellectual property.

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If you want to get "official", though, you can also register with the Copyright Branch of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_wr00003.html

There's a rebuttable presumption that the party registered holds the copyright to the work. (Sending yourself a copy through registered mail is known as the "poor man's copyright". It is not actually doing anything to register your copyright. It is simply creating evidence to use if you ever need to fight it out later.)

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If one were to get 'official' in Canada they'd first go to SOCAN and apply for status, so that when their music got played on campus radio (or wherever else) they'd get at least a little cash.

There would sit enough proof of ownership one would need.

CIPO isn't necessary for a work to be copywritten, since intellectual property rights are guaranteed in Canada.

From the CIPO site:

"Automatic protection for Canadian and foreign works

When you create a work or other subject matter protected by copyright, you will automatically have copyright protection provided that, at the time of creation, you were:

a Canadian citizen or a person ordinarily resident in Canada;

a citizen or subject of, or a person ordinarily resident in, a Berne Convention country, a Universal Copyright Convention country, a Rome Convention country (for sound recordings, performer's performance and communication signals only), or a country that is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO); or

a citizen or subject of, or a person ordinarily resident in any country to which the Minister has extended protection by notice in the Canada Gazette.

In some cases, you would also obtain automatic copyright if your work was first published in one of the countries included among those who have signed the Berne, Universal Copyright or Rome conventions or the WTO agreement, even if you were not a citizen or subject of Canada, or of one of those countries.

In short, virtually everyone living in Canada can enjoy the benefits of automatic copyright protection. In addition, Canadians are protected in most foreign countries since most belong to one or more of the international treaties — the Berne Convention or the Universal Copyright Convention, the Rome Convention or are members of the WTO. Citizens of countries which are members of those conventions enjoy the benefits of Canadian copyright law in Canada. Canada also extends protection to certain non-member countries by way of notice in the Canada Gazette.

Sound recordings themselves are protected internationally under the Rome Convention and under the copyright treaties, but there is quite a variation internationally as to the nature of the protection given to sound recordings. In Canada, sound recordings enjoy a broad range of protection under the Copyright Act."

Blurry: if you want to pay somebody a bunch of money to file some paperwork for you the go ahead. If these can be claimed as business expenses (if you're making money from your work or intend to) then it's probably worth your time.

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Yes, but the only officially recognized registration of copyright in Canada is through CIPO. The rest is all evidence to prove you created something first, which goes to attacking someone else's alleged copyright. If you can show you created it, you may be able to defeat a registered copyright. Remember, I said it's a "rebuttable presumption".

(Of course, you could have assigned copyright, too, so that isn't the end of the story.)

SOCAN is a whole other matter. That is not the law of copyright. It's a mechanism for paying copyright holders.

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Definitely. More evidence to prove one created it first.

Recognized Registration of Copyright for the majority of authors is nonessential.

However, it is what Blurry asked for.

I always presume that people don't understand that registered copyright is for the most part nonessential.

(That was an awesome link btw, Stoney)

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Here are a couple of articles on Canadian copyright law, if you're interested. They aren't directly on point with what you asked, but may be of interest.

They are really about copyright and the Internet, and were written long enough ago that they were "speculative" at the time, but basically all speculations turned out to be right:

Copyright Law in the Digital Age


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