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Copyright - Songs [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : Copyright - Songs


Flashback
03-09-07, 11:04 PM
Just a simple question - If I write a song and (c) it, does this have to be renewed after a perod of time or can someome else, after said period, make money or copy it (fully).

Another way to look at it, if I wrote 'Happy B-Day', and (c) it does this expire after a "few" years?

kvrdave
03-09-07, 11:09 PM
Seems like it was 50 years but that may have been extended because of the Disney lobbyists.

funkyryno
03-09-07, 11:23 PM
According to my Mass Media Law textbook (Pember, 1999) your work will be copyrighted until you die, and then your heirs will retain the copyright for 50 years. Any "work for hire" production, say something you recorded for a publisher, is protected for 75 years.

Jason
03-10-07, 09:10 AM
Seems like it was 50 years but that may have been extended because of the Disney lobbyists.

Disney has specifically lobbyed for copyright to be eternal. As if people 500 years from now will care who Mickey Mouse is.

j123vt_99
03-10-07, 09:15 AM
Good to see someone is finally going to write the DVDTALK theme song

Just a simple question - If I write a song and (c) it, does this have to be renewed after a perod of time or can someome else, after said period, make money or copy it (fully).

Another way to look at it, if I wrote 'Happy B-Day', and (c) it does this expire after a "few" years?

Tracer Bullet
03-10-07, 10:22 AM
Don't use copyright.

http://creativecommons.org/

JasonF
03-10-07, 10:49 AM
Just a simple question - If I write a song and (c) it, does this have to be renewed after a perod of time or can someome else, after said period, make money or copy it (fully).

Another way to look at it, if I wrote 'Happy B-Day', and (c) it does this expire after a "few" years?

Others have covered the duration of copyright pretty thoroughly, but songs also have a special rule that applies to them called the "compulsory license." Baically, when you write a song, you've got the right to make the first recording of it. After that, anybody can record it as long as they pay you a licensing fee. This is unique to music -- I don't have an automatic right, for exampe, to do a film off the Godfather script just because Coppola got first crack at it.

Also, please note that while anybody has the right to make their own record (after you've done the first recording), they don't have the right to use yours.

I am not a copyright lawyer and I haven't looked closely at this stuff since I was in law school 10 years ago.

Heat
03-10-07, 11:04 AM
Disney has specifically lobbyed for copyright to be eternal. As if people 500 years from now will care who Mickey Mouse is.
They'd like it to be eternal, but they'll settle for twenty year extensions at a time.

Read this article if you'd like more information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonny_Bono_Copyright_Term_Extension_Act

To make a long story short, Disney as well as certain other parties convinced ($$$) congress to pass a bill that was signed into law by Bill Clinton that extended copyrights by twenty years, effectively freezing works that would have gone into public domain to the year 1923. Works published prior to that are public domain, works published after that are protected. Coincidentally, Micky Mouse first appeared in the late '20s. If this law hadn't been passed, Mickey Mouse could be in the public domain (and in fact is in the public domain in other countries, such as Russia).