I would be grateful for some advice on a couple of issues regarding the protection of original compositions. However, none of the songs are my own ...... I will explain.
I volunteer at a UK youth project and part of the work that we do is to engage young people in various music making activities of which one is song composition. This has proved more popular than envisaged and we now have several composers/vocalists/bands that are creating their own music to a good standard. The young people are typically between 13 & 18 and have had little or no previous experience with creating/performing music. Some of the songs are very good and I am conscious that we need to be advising these young people how to copyright their compositions.
I looked on the Internet and found an enormous amount of confusing information and international legal jargon. It seems the old post it off in a letter to yourself (Rikki Don't Lose That Number ) advice is nonsense but that is what I remember my friends doing many years ago. Cheap and cheerful but apparently does not stand up to much legal scrutiny.
Some of these songs are rather quite good and I don't want the kids to be taken advantage of.
Is there a good Internet site that I can point them to , or any reference guide that I can print out for their parents regarding this? We will , of course, help them to fill out any forms that are required.
The second point is that as the songs are now getting very good, the next stage will be to record them. The kids themselves will perform these and it will be a great experience for them to visit a studio and see how the recording process works. The kids will get a copy of their recorded track and a compilation CD will be compiled by the project. I realise that once these songs are out into the Public Domain they could be on the other side of the world in seconds. Is there anything else that I should think about regards the song writers rights before starting work on the recording sessions? I assume that will need all songs to be copyrighted before the studio dates.
This work is proving successful in getting kids off the streets and into music. It has turned quite a few young lives around. It is important that we get this right, offer safe/sound advise as we hope to turn this into regular workshops that help to bring new talent through.
Thanks in advance for your help.