Protecting songs.


How do you guys protect your songs before putting them on Soundcloud/Bandcamp a.o?

Or is the very fact that it’s on those sites a copyright protection on its own?


If you want to be sure: Give a recording of your song in a sealed and dated envelope to your lawyer before making it public.

If you’re not too paranoid: register your song with your country’s copyright bureau (or whatever it is) before going public.

If you’re not paranoid at all: just go out and publish it at these sites. They must have some date stamps on the files uploaded to them … but be aware … your song might be next month’s hit of Britney Spears or Justin Bieber :smiling_imp:

There is no way to protect copyright otherwise than proving a person wrote a song, ie musical and/or literary work(s).

Copyright © can only be substantiated by drafts of previous work, that is to demonstrate a piece of musics’ evolution.

Simply fronting up with an audio copy does not in and of itself prove copyright otherwise than § in a musical production.

Aloha and +1

Like Trademark Attorneys, it’s designed to take your hard earned money.

For example if a friend gives you a demo, and then you turn around and sequence it and then another person plays it based on the (new) version of the song or sequence, then who owns the copyright?

The original person, the programmer or the guy who actually plays it.

It all depends on what can be proved and an audio recording at any stage might not adequately reflect the end result so registration in any form is a hoax.

There have been very few frauds in history in this area, probably enough to count on one hand so if the material has potential it won’t be stolen, moreover it will need many a good mind and there would potentially be many copyright holders.

Go to us patent office. It costs 38 dollars to copyright a album. Its simple all you do is upload to copyright office) and its copyrighted.

ive always posted a DAT-CD-DCC-MD-TAPE with the original data disk to myself with a dated letter which have all been left sealed and i do believe in england that is classed as legal protection !


This is the one I’ve also learned to be “good enough” legal protection … but if you’re paranoid enough, it’s always good practice to send this letter to another person (preferably a lawyer) so there’s at least two persons to back up the story. Come on … there’s always someone who’s willing to testify it’s possible to open and re-seal your sealed letter, if there’s big money changing hands. (Have I watched too many American TV shows lately? :smiling_imp: )

Copyright is usually automatic.
If it came to a dispute you’d need to prove that your work was made first so posting it to yourself and keeping the unopened envelope is an option. But if you’re going to put it on the web I’d have thought the upload date would be pretty solid proof.

Definitely not! It’s trivial to counterfeit an upload date. I can do it in 30 seconds.

exactly ,you need to have a legally bonded or sealed hard copy with date stamping as proof at least .

Thanks guys, much wiser now!


It’s not sufficient to prove who wrote a song since it can be tampered with.

The only societies that offer a genuine service, ie “registration” are collection societies who distribute royalties.

A song cannot be patented as an idea, moreover ownership of copyright in a sound recording or production does not automatically mean a person has copyright in a musical or literary work.

I meant on the major shared sites suggested by the OP. You have an automatic uneditable publication timestamp for all to see. That’s arguably easier to verify than the sealed envelope.

I think collecting royalties is another matter but if you’re just worried about your stuff getting ripped off the real problem would be finding out that it has even happened.

That sadly is little more than a popular and widespread copyright myth known as the ‘poor man’s copyright’.

It is the worst kind of myth. It is wasteful, achieves nothing, gives a false sense of protection and can leave good people more vulnerable than if they had done nothing at all. There is simply no way that poor man’s copyright is a valid strategy for protecting one’s work.

Yet, even today, it is widely preached, especially in comments to blog posts, and the myth has continued to spread. It is time to put it to rest once and for all. Simply put, the myth is so outrageous that it can not withstand even the slightest scrutiny and would crumble like a sand castle in a court of law.


Thanks Sherz for putting that to bed!

Here’s another link from where you linked:

The link I posted above is from the UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office and they explicitly suggest the use of “PMC”.

Additionally, a creator could send himself or herself a copy by special delivery post (which gives a clear date stamp on the envelope), leaving the envelope unopened on its return (ensuring you also know what is inside each envelope in case you do this more than once).

This shows how uneven copyright enforcement is around the globe. We all know that if you get ripped off in China you can forget it. But I am surprised that in the US, without registering your work, you wouldn’t even be able to take action outside your own state. It’s hard to see what actual value the US copyright office adds beyond granting access to what should be common justice in any case. Proving ownership should be the easy bit and I still think that if you are going to publish it on a major sharing site anyway, that would prove the date at least as well as the options suggested in the article.

There certainly seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there which certainly makes it all the more confusing :confused:
I guess its fair to assume there may be variations and differences in copyright/intellectual property laws from one country to the next. Maybe ‘PMC’ is a valid strategy in the UK but not in the USA? Dunno…

Regsitration in the US only offers prima facie evidence at best but the usual covenants likely apply in most western countries.

There are two issues here, unauthorized copying of completed (copyright) works, and unauthorized performance or recording of incomplete or previously recorded works.

I wonder, as way of trying to put this in some kind of perspective, how many cases there have been of say indies/unsigned artists making a breach of copyright claim in the last 10 or so years? Personally I’m pretty laid-back and relaxed about the whole thing and don’t really harbour any fears of anyone stealing my work, but I do wonder if it has actually ever happened to anyone, and if so, does it happen very often?