Footnotes & Copyrights (Legal Question)

Hi folks, this is actually a legal question rather than a software/technical one.

I’m going to be printing my own composition and want to make it available to the public. I’ve flipped through a bunch of my sheet music books and looked at the footnotes of them, aiming to put something similar on my work.

As an example of the format used by many it says:

Copyright © 1968 Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Copyright Renewed
All Rights Administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, 8 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203
International Copyright Secured All Rights Reserved

My understanding has been that if you create your own work, by default you hold the copyright and it doesn’t have to be registered in some obscure database somewhere and you are entitled to put Copyright © 2019 your name/company. But I’m wondering about this “International Copyright Secured” how does one secure a copyright? And what about “All Rights Reserved”? What does that even mean? Or is it just a statement that goes alongside Copyright?

Has anyone else here self-published their own works? Are there specific legals rules one should be aware of? Do I have to register my own publishing company? “Sunny16 Music Publishing” or can I just put my name there and my copyright is legal?

One other question, considering all of the above is all taken care of, what do I need to do in order to get an ISBN number? I think all books published require one?

Any advice on this stuff would be great. Thanks!

Some details will depend on where you are based, as laws differ from place to place. In some places, the simple act of producing something grants a copyright, and no legal wording is necessary. The © symbol and date is just a useful ‘stating’ of the relevant information.

“All rights reserved” is largely redundant, but again it expressly states that the author/publisher controls All the rights. Sometimes, a publisher only controls the English language rights; or North American rights; or has a non-exclusive usage of the work.

Don’t get an ISBN for music: use an ISMN (internation Standard Music Number). They’re cheaper!

unless it is registered in that “obscure database somewhere”, you cannot claim infringement.

Are you asserting that if I publish something in the U.K., and somebody infringes my copyright in the U.K., and my copyright’s not registered in the U.S., I can’t claim infringement?

“All rights reserved” doesn’t just mean “copyright”. It also includes performance rights, recording rights, etc.

Sunny, in reality, unless you are VERY rich, if you are going to self-publish your music you are wasting your time worrying about copyright, because you can’t afford to enforce it when (note, when, not if) it is broken.

Copyright violation isn’t a criminal offense, so there is no law enforcement agency that will bring the perpetrators to justice “for free” (well, of course police forces aren’t “free”, they are funded from taxation, but that’s just a detail).

If you put something on the web, it WILL be copied. Just enjoy the nice warm feeling that somebody out there actually found it :slight_smile:

Sure, if somebody copies it onto a social media site or offers it for sale on ebay (or one of the many self-publishing websites), then you can ask for the copy to be taken down. But do you really want to spend a few hours every day searching hundreds of sites for pirate copies of your work, or do you have something better to do with your life?

If you care about protecting your work, publish it through a company that will protect it for you. But if course, unless such a company thinks they are going to make money by selling your work, they won’t be interested in it.

Actually, Google Alerts have rendered this relatively unnecessary - I know this from a publishing company I’ve worked for. Basically, if Google can find something, it can notify you. If it can’t find something, neither can anyone else. There are exceptions, of course, such as the dark web, but that’s not really relevant to sheet music.

OK, so instead of spending your time searching, you can spend it playing whack-a-mole. Somebody working for a publishing company gets paid to do that. Private individuals don’t.

The world outside of the USA doesn’t really exist. It’s just a movie set in Hollywood somewhere, like the Apollo moon landings were.

To your point about searching - point well made.
To your point about the world outside of the USA - I was trying not to be quite that blunt :wink:

your claim won’t go far in a US court.
page 5, bullet 1.

What you can claim in the UK or elsewhere, I do not know.

That isn’t true at all.

Being registered allows you to pursue statutory damages (e.g. above and beyond actual losses incurred) but is absolutely not necessary to protect your work. The pages you link clearly state this if you actually read them.

I guess my interpretation of “protect your work” is different than yours (per above webpage:)

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”

My definition is…well, protection? Like, even if it isn’t registered you can still get a bootleg edition pulped. You just can’t extract extra $$$.

What, this one?
“Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration (or refusal) is necessary for works of U.S. origin.

As somebody whose work does not originate in the U.S., I don’t see how this bullet point is relevant to me.

This is an international forum. It’s utterly confusing if you make sweeping generalisations that assume that everyone here is in the U.S.