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Songwriting and (C)

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Ron Marschall

on 29 January 2018

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Transcript of Songwriting and (C)

Songwriting is a craft
The key elements to songwriting ...
Melody and Lyrics
Structure and Form
a simple pattern that allows the listener to quickly grasp the song, remember it and be part of the emotional experience.
Melodic Range
Simplicity - catchy, memorable and easy to sing
Should always compliment and enhance the melody
Clyde Stubblefield
gives the song it's movement and tempo
The Story
A set of legally enforceable laws, granted to creators of original songs or recordings.
Property Rights
Copyright gives to owner the right to control –

1. Reproduction of the work
2. Distribution of the work
3. Public performances
4. Creation of derivative works
5. Display of the work
6. (In the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.)

there are 2 types of copyrightable works –
the underlying composition of "the song"
1. Musical Work
In music
2. Sound Recording
Granted to the owner of the "Master" recording
Granted to the original songwriter
Clearance of a Sample
remember this guy?
he is one of the most sampled people in history
How much money do you think Clyde Stubblefield has made from being sampled more than anyone else in history?
because he is not the owner of either of these copyrights
Owned by Polydor Records
Owned by James Brown's publishing Co.
a subsidiary of Universal Music Group
Public Domain
Work whose copyright term has lapsed
Warren G. Harding
1865 – 1923, US President (1921–1923)
How long is the "Term" of a copyright?
Copyright Term Extension Act, 1998
life of the author plus 70 years
for works of authorship
the term is 120 years after creation
or years after publication,
whichever endpoint is earlier
some Copyright math
mickey mouse introduced in 1928
under 1976 copyright term, Steamboat Willie would have become Public Domain in 2003
That can NOT happen
so congress extended all copyright terms by 20 years
Steamboat Willie is now set to become Public Domain in 2023
will we see another push for copyright term extension as that date gets closer?
(or maybe a "continued use" exception?)
most works characterized as Public Domain where created prior to
PS ...
Fair Use
Copyright does not prohibit all copying or replication.
unfortunately Fair Use is not clearly defined
• the purpose and character of the use;

• the nature of the original copyrighted work;

• the amount and substantiality of the portion used in
relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

• the effect of the use upon the potential market for or
value of the copyrighted work

Berne Convention
international agreement governing copyright, which was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886.
not accepted in the US until
allows reproduction of a copyrighted work for certain purposes, such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research.
Fair use does NOT include small quantity recordings made for or by charity or religious organizations;
nor does it exempt recordings that are distributed without charge.
how much of a song can i sample before i have to pay for it?
not even a fraction of a second
So ...
10 sec?
15 sec?
7% ?
5% ?
Registration of Copyright
$35 for online electronic submission
$65 for paper filing
Form PA (Performing Arts) used for the musical work or underlying composition of the song

Form SR (Sound Recording) used for the master recording
Significant examples
of Fair Use:
Just because you believe a use follows the Fair Use guidelines does NOT mean you can't be sued.
In fact, the only way to determine if a use is truly “fair” is to have it litigated.
Many copyright holders have used the threat of litigation to prevent what is clearly a fair use.
sir Elton Hercules John
songwriting partners since 1967
they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date
Bernie Taupin

Why register your work?
So ...
A person cannot sue in federal court for copyright infringement without a federal registration.
The date of creation listed on a federal registration certificate is the strongest evidence a court will consider.
Federal registration provides additional benefits including but not limited to:
1. Public notice of who owns the work

2. Listing in the United States Copyright Office’s online databases

3. A legal presumption of ownership of the work in court
If you win your case you may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees. (i.e. more money!)
Introduced the concept that a copyright exists the moment a work is "fixed", rather than requiring registration.
and Copyright
should be no more than a tenth
We Built This City
Traditional Method:
Modern Method:
Track and Hook
Ester Dean
Max Martin
Karl Martin Sandberg
Full transcript