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How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

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How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:47 am

How do I copyright the master rights of an album? There Is an option in the metadata which says copyright but It’s not letting me tick that box. Should it be at the conversion stage (ie: when I convert the music from CD Wav to MP3?)
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Sam Inglis » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:16 am

Copyright exists automatically, you don't need to do anything to 'copyright' your work.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:15 pm

That's what I thought.

I signed a licensing deal with a company over in the States in January 2012. It was for a 3 year period and was a non-exclusive license, so it would have ended in January 2015. The tracks were licensed again in 2014. The tracks were already released in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The company over in the states are now saying that Even though the agreement is and has expired the tracks still stay in our catalog and we are as of our knowledge the original publishers. I really need some help on this.

I'm not even sure whether I should have posted this here in case I'm breaking any rules.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:39 pm

Can anyone else help me out on this?
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:51 pm

I think you'd need to do a full reading of the original contract with the publisher in the states. An excerpt really isn't enough for anyone to give you advice on I'm afraid.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:18 am

If I found a copy of the original CD with the date of when the CD was created. Would that be evidence that confirm that I own the rights to the music on the CD?
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby ken long » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:22 am

Stickman0_3 wrote:
The company over in the states are now saying that Even though the agreement is and has expired the tracks still stay in our catalog and we are as of our knowledge the original publishers. I really need some help on this.

Well they have admitted the license has expired. They need to renew the license. "We are as of our knowledge" is also a very weak claim.

As for the WAV metadata I think you'll need to convert to broadcast wav for those kinds of tags. I would also add ISRC codes in future.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby CS70 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:02 am

Stickman0_3 wrote:If I found a copy of the original CD with the date of when the CD was created. Would that be evidence that confirm that I own the rights to the music on the CD?

While it's perfectly correct that copyright exists in the moment you create the work, in practice copyright becomes a concrete issue when there is a conflict about it - i.e. you decide to enter a litigation.. then it's best to have evidence supporting the right. I'm far from an expert, but I read a little about it a few months back and in the US there's some forms to make a copyright claim, and if you have filled them you are on a bit more solid ground than if not.

That said, the main issue in all these legal things is always whether or not to start a litigation, which has a cost in both treasure and time and - depending on your evidence - more or less probability to be successful. Usually you want to be seen at least to threaten a litigation, and the threat should be credible: meaning you start writing yourself but if you don't get thru you hire an attorney to write on your behalf. Then he/she will advise you on what are the chances of success and the financial outcomes (in certain cases, depending on the jurisdiction, you may need to appear in court in person and if the court is in say Madison, Wisconsin and you are based in Berlin, you must be able to cover the cost of travel and accomodation etc.

So: read your original contract inside out so you know all the factors pertaining to a potential litigation and you have an idea on the costs and time you may need to spend while you are busy winning. If you decide to go forth, write to them stating clearly what you demand and give them reasonable amount of time to comply, explicitly stating that you if they do not you will take all available legal recourseas etc etc, possibly referencing briefing the related sections of the contract (that gives them the - correct - impression that you've done your homework and it's not an empty threat).

If you they do not, you have to decided whether or not to really start the litigation.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:58 pm

Yes you need to see if you signed over the publishing to them.
Not to be a downer here but if they are a large company they could be counting on the fact that you will not sue them. A friend has a small record company who discovered an artist who became famous and was then lured away by a major record company. The major company told the performing rights organizations that they held the copyright to the entire artists catalogue, which they did not.
My friends company had to sue and won the decision. It was very expensive litigation. Later on my friend noticed that this major company was yet again telling the PROs that they owned the entire catalogue again. Again my friend sued and won.

Good luck.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:56 am

I need to prove that I actually own the rights.

As I said, I have found a copy of the original CD that was sent to the company in the states. When I go into the properties of each individual track, it shows the date when each track was created. The individual music files on the CD were created between 2006 and 2010.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:45 pm

Unlike the UK, in the US, you have to actually register the songs with the Library of Congress, if the case is to become subject to litigation. So yes, in theory you may own the rights, but those rights have to be registered PRIOR to any litigation, if you want to defend them!

If the other party registered the songs and have a contract to back this up, you MAY have effectively given away all rights to these songs.

That's what happens when you don't read the small print and don't even use the usual half-hour free consultation that every US IP and music lawyer will give you.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:47 pm

As CS70says in the adjoing thread (why there?) that which I rote applies to US citizens working in the US.

You may find that you have assigned your rights to the publisher - again, read the bloody small print!

It never ceases to amaze me just how many people sign contracts they have not read!
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:32 am

Is there anyone here who can have a quick look at the contract for me please?
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:38 pm

I've been told that it would be best to speak with a Copyright Lawyer or my local Performing Rights Association. I've used up my free 1 hour consultation with the PRS.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:09 pm

To be frank, copyright law is a mess. Trying to manage it across two different territories is even more messy. I think you need to speak to a proper copyright lawyer, get a quote and then decide where you want to spend your time and money.
Good luck.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:57 am

I don't have the money for a copyright lawyer - so what now?
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:48 am

I know this is an old topic but it is important to me as it feels as if I've lost some of my best tracks. OK so, I have been thinking of a way forward on this for some time. Can I simply ask/demand to have my tracks back and put back up on Spotify and ITunes?

Any more advice on this would also be much appreciated.
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Re: How do I copyright the master rights of an album?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:30 pm

Fundamentally nothing has changed unfortunately.
You probably have two options: 1) you can write to them and request that they do something with the tracks (either release them back to you or effectively relicense them), or 2) you lawyer up and try things that way.
Only you can make the decision of how much time and effort those songs are worth to you if you go down the second route.
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