You are here

Copyright registration cost

Advice on everything from getting your music heard to setting up a label and royalties.

Copyright registration cost

Postby awjoe » Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:39 am

Sorry for being lazy, but I figured the voice of experience would work better than Google here. What does it cost to register a copyright for a single song in Britain? I enquire, merely for information you understand.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2431
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Fringe member of the Party Pooper People's Party

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:45 am

Rule number one is 'don't fall for the scams'. There is no register of copyrights in the UK:
https://www.gov.uk/copyright
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8470
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:57 am

There is no such thing! The copyright exists the very moment you create any work of art or performance of any sort.

The only secure method of establishing copyright is to publish, e.g. release a CD that is registered with PPL, MCPS, or on YouTube or performance on Blu-Ray or have the thing broadcast in some way.

There are totally bogus registration sites and incredibly stupid ideas like the sealed envelope idea (that is regularly thrown out of court!) and all sorts of other bonkers ideas - stay away from these and don't waste your time or money on them!

If you want to establish a name - let us say that you wish that your band (or movie, or brand of instrument or studio or indeed anything else) is to be called 'Pubis Berk and the Deltoids' and you seek to protect that name, you must register the name as a trademark with the government 'Intellectual Property Office' (known to its' friends as the IPO) and that can take up to three months and costs £170. That is of course not the same thing as copyright, but it is worth remembering.

Nothing is quite as galling as trading as 'X' for a few years, only to discover a 'Cease and Desist!' letter on the doormat from someone who has just registered that name!

There are different types of copyright and other rights. If you write a book, the words are subject to intellectual copyright. The format or idea or premise for the story-line is also subject to intellectual copyright. The layout is subject to mechanical copyright. Turn it into a musical and the script is also subject to those copyrights. The music is then subject to two intellectual copyrights (words and music) and if recorded, mechanical.

Some rights, such as image rights, only exist in a few territories and in many counties, copyrights are routinely abused. The face of a famous person may be registered as a trademark however.

Any original work may be copyrighted - for example, an original new design for a mic-pre-amp may not just be patented, but also subject to copyright laws!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2279
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:18 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:The format or idea or premise for the story-line is also subject to intellectual copyright.
I don't think that's not completely correct. The idea cannot be copyrighted. It is the fixing of the idea in some form that can be. So the format, premise, structure or storyline can be copyrighted once they've been written down (or fixed in some way, a storyboard or recording would do), but the idea itself cannot be copyrighted.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8470
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:07 pm

blinddrew wrote:
The Red Bladder wrote:The format or idea or premise for the story-line is also subject to intellectual copyright.
I don't think that's not completely correct. The idea cannot be copyrighted. It is the fixing of the idea in some form that can be. So the format, premise, structure or storyline can be copyrighted once they've been written down (or fixed in some way, a storyboard or recording would do), but the idea itself cannot be copyrighted.
That all depends on how close you get to the original story or format. If you copy the storyline, beat for beat, you will have to pay a license fee. If you produce yet another one of the 10 basic stories (buddy-love, quest, dude-with-a-problem, heist, superhero, etc.) then obviously, as long as your story is sufficiently different to those that have gone before it, it is regarded as an original work.

Game show and reality show formats are copyrighted and each such show has what is called a 'Bible' - a detailed description of each and every step and move within the show. But the courts did not deem Hughie Green's 'Double Your Money' to be a copy of 'The $64,000 Show' and 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' was deemed to not be a copy of 'Double Your Money'. But of course, all the various versions of 'Millionaire' around the World do have to pay a license fee to Sony Pictures who bought the copyrights from Celador.

So if you copy the storyline as described in a movie's treatment, you will have to have the copyright owner's agreement. That is why production companies pay for so-called 'options' on stories.

It is also why there will not be any more Narnia films - the Lewis estate played hard-to-get just one time too often by wanting separate deals for every story and so (after a bidding war that had every possible player walk away from the table on 'The Silver Chair') they sold the entire franchise for a TV series of all the stories to Netflix.
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2279
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby CS70 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:06 am

awjoe wrote:Sorry for being lazy, but I figured the voice of experience would work better than Google here. What does it cost to register a copyright for a single song in Britain? I enquire, merely for information you understand.

As others have said, there's no copyright office in the UK. There is in the US though, and a registration was about 40 USD last time I checked.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4451
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby awjoe » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:16 pm

CS70 wrote:
awjoe wrote:Sorry for being lazy, but I figured the voice of experience would work better than Google here. What does it cost to register a copyright for a single song in Britain? I enquire, merely for information you understand.

As others have said, there's no copyright office in the UK. There is in the US though, and a registration was about 40 USD last time I checked.

Exactly. Which makes me wonder if one is as effective as the other. So, for instance, if an unscrupulous bottom-feeder pinched your song which was copyright protected in Britain, what recourse would you have? And wouldn't you have a tighter case legally if you'd registered it with the Library of Congress in the States? Does anyone here have real experience of both systems?
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2431
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Fringe member of the Party Pooper People's Party

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby blinddrew » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:36 pm

Easy, register it in the US and bring the case there, the statutory damages are much higher!
;)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8470
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby CS70 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:46 pm

awjoe wrote:
CS70 wrote:
awjoe wrote:Sorry for being lazy, but I figured the voice of experience would work better than Google here. What does it cost to register a copyright for a single song in Britain? I enquire, merely for information you understand.

As others have said, there's no copyright office in the UK. There is in the US though, and a registration was about 40 USD last time I checked.

Exactly. Which makes me wonder if one is as effective as the other. So, for instance, if an unscrupulous bottom-feeder pinched your song which was copyright protected in Britain, what recourse would you have? And wouldn't you have a tighter case legally if you'd registered it with the Library of Congress in the States? Does anyone here have real experience of both systems?

I've not been exposed myself, but from what I've studied of the matter, I don't think there's anything automatic in copyright violation cases.

You must file a civil suit, and then litigate. So it all depends on how good your lawyers are with respect to the counterpart and how much will and money you have to keep them running. In most countries there's also several levels of appeal courts so things aren't solved immediately - you can generally quickly obtain stuff like injunctions to PROs and other actors to withhold payments until the dispute is settled, but the final outcome can be years in the making.

So in short, anything that can improve your case in a hypothetical litigation is good because it may increase the chances of a quick judgement.

If you file in the US (it's a federal filing, so not the simplest) and you have registered your copyright, you become eligible for "statutory damage" - meaning you aren't required to prove the precise amount of damages and you are more likely to find attorneys that that accept a percentage of the winning instead of retainer fees - which makes it possible to suit also if you're not loaded.. For non-willful infringements however, statutory awards can be pretty low in monetary terms - a few hundred dollars.

If you have not registered your copyright, you can still file but you aren't eligible for statutory damages - but "actual damages and profits" which are calculated depending on your situation (that includes your current licensing history, so it's not that great for unknown artists.. still, if the infringement is proved and the guilty party has made millions, it can be a substantial amount).

Keep in mind that the losing counterpart must still have money to pay, or assets that can be used for the purpose. Meaning it's really meaningless to pursue infringements by entities which most likely do not (i.e. an unknown artist using your song but staying unknown).

Finally if you lose, you can be forced to pay the counterpart's attorney fees. So filing isn't entirely risk free.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4451
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby awjoe » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:27 pm

Wow, you seem to know more about this than anyone I've spoken to online. Thanks for that. Okay, based on what you've said, I now have a new plan of attack:

1 Write a hit song.

2 Entice an unscrupulous party to pinch it and make a lot of money from it.

3 Invite them to a courtroom session at their earliest convenience.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2431
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Fringe member of the Party Pooper People's Party

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby CS70 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:29 pm

Sounds like a good plan!

Some months ago I investigated a bit the idea of registering my songs with the US copyright office, that’s all :)
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4451
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby blinddrew » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:53 pm

awjoe wrote:Wow, you seem to know more about this than anyone I've spoken to online. Thanks for that. Okay, based on what you've said, I now have a new plan of attack:

1 Write a hit song.

1a Register it with the US copyright office.

2 Entice an unscrupulous party to pinch it and make a lot of money from it.

3 Invite them to a courtroom session at their earliest convenience.

Fixed that for you. ;)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8470
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Copyright registration cost

Postby awjoe » Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:25 am

That's my understanding, yes.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2431
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Fringe member of the Party Pooper People's Party


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users