registering a composition

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
27 messages Options
12
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

registering a composition

Francesco Petrogalli
Hi all,

apologies in advance for the slightly off topic question, but after
doing my own research I am still unable to sort out how to publish a
composition.

I have written it with lilypond, but it hasn't been performed yet. I
wanted to secure the copyright before performing it. Given that there
is no performing artist yet, there is no recording, so I cannot
register it with ASCAP. Have I got this right?

What would be the standard way to "secure" the PDF when it is ready?

Thank you,

Francesco

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Schneidy
Hi Francesco,
Not sure if this gives you any help but the first thing I'd do in your case is to secure the pdf with a password.
Cheers,
Pierre

Le jeu. 21 mai 2020 à 05:51, Francesco Petrogalli <[hidden email]> a écrit :
Hi all,

apologies in advance for the slightly off topic question, but after
doing my own research I am still unable to sort out how to publish a
composition.

I have written it with lilypond, but it hasn't been performed yet. I
wanted to secure the copyright before performing it. Given that there
is no performing artist yet, there is no recording, so I cannot
register it with ASCAP. Have I got this right?

What would be the standard way to "secure" the PDF when it is ready?

Thank you,

Francesco

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Valentin Villenave-3
In reply to this post by Francesco Petrogalli
On 5/21/20, Francesco Petrogalli <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I have written it with lilypond, but it hasn't been performed yet. I
> wanted to secure the copyright before performing it. Given that there
> is no performing artist yet, there is no recording, so I cannot
> register it with ASCAP. Have I got this right?

No registration anywhere is needed to "secure the copyright". All you
need to have is a way of proving your anteriority if anyone were to
come and claim they’ve written it instead of you. There are several
commercial services that can do that for you (though many are scams),
but there are cheaper and simpler ways; a simple web search brought me
to the following page:
https://copyright.co.uk/legal-copyright-law.html

“““
It is essential to prove the date of creation of the work. An easy but
somewhat unreliable method consists of posting a copy of your work to
yourself in a sealed envelope just after completion, and never opening
it. The postal service’s date stamp will theoretically prove the date.
This can then be opened in the presence of a judge or solicitor for an
official confirmation of the date. For this to work, the envelope seal
must be intact and not appear to have been tampered with.
”””

Now, before even considering registering with ASCAP, you should
perhaps ask yourself if you’re _really_ sure that you want to publish
under "All rights reserved" (which would prevent a _lot_ of people
from simply performing your work). There are many alternative licenses
out there, that may authorize "not commercial" uses (whatever that
means), copying, or even making new works based on your work while
still having to credit you appropriately. I’m just saying that you may
want to give this at least a thought before closing that door forever.

Cheers,
-- V.

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Federico Bruni-2
Il giorno gio 21 mag 2020 alle 10:33, Valentin Villenave
<[hidden email]> ha scritto:
> All you
> need to have is a way of proving your anteriority if anyone were to
> come and claim they’ve written it instead of you.

A modern alternative to sending a sealed package is digital
watermarking.

Francesco, as you are italian, you may want to try this "almost free"
service:
https://www.costozero.org/wai/copyzero.html
https://www.costozero.org/wai/u2.html

or buy a smart card to do it yourself




Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Schneidy

Le jeu. 21 mai 2020 à 11:04, Federico Bruni <[hidden email]> a écrit :
Il giorno gio 21 mag 2020 alle 10:33, Valentin Villenave
<[hidden email]> ha scritto:
> All you
> need to have is a way of proving your anteriority if anyone were to
> come and claim they’ve written it instead of you.

A modern alternative to sending a sealed package is digital
watermarking.

Francesco, as you are italian, you may want to try this "almost free"
service:
https://www.costozero.org/wai/copyzero.html
https://www.costozero.org/wai/u2.html

or buy a smart card to do it yourself




Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Tim McNamara
In reply to this post by Valentin Villenave-3


> On May 21, 2020, at 3:34 AM, Valentin Villenave <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 5/21/20, Francesco Petrogalli <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I have written it with lilypond, but it hasn't been performed yet. I
>> wanted to secure the copyright before performing it. Given that there
>> is no performing artist yet, there is no recording, so I cannot
>> register it with ASCAP. Have I got this right?
>
> No registration anywhere is needed to "secure the copyright". All you
> need to have is a way of proving your anteriority if anyone were to
> come and claim they’ve written it instead of you. There are several
> commercial services that can do that for you (though many are scams),
> but there are cheaper and simpler ways; a simple web search brought me
> to the following page:
> https://copyright.co.uk/legal-copyright-law.html

Copyright law is nationally controlled, not internationally controlled for the most part.  There is a degree of reciprocity.  In the US, copyright is automatically granted to creators but copyright is also divided- the creator has rights but so does the publisher, which matters in terms of royalty payments if the work is recorded or performed.  As the saying goes, keep the publishing.  Thousands of artists and composers lost out on billions of dollars because they signed the publishing away in the early days of their careers in the fine print of a recording contract.  This has been standard practice in the recording industry since its inception and has beggared many a musician/composer.  I do not feel bad at all about the slow death of the major labels since the the internet made their business model basically non-viable; most of them have been right bastards to artists.  Create your own publishing company wholly owned by you.

I don't know about ASCAP; I use BMI and songs can be registered with them prior to recording or performance.  ASCAP and BMI seem to work about the same as do all the performance rights organizations (PROs) in the US; these only cover live performance.  I register my songs when I judge them completed, even though no one else will likely ever perform them since I am completely unknown and they are usually weird.  I write to amuse myself, mainly.  Recording royalties through mechanical licenses in the US are managed almost universally through the Harry Fox Agency.

As for proving that you are the originator of a composition, thankfully your computer records the creation date of your files.  That will almost certainly never be challenged unless you write a hit record and someone decides they want a piece of those royalties.  That has led to some truly bizarre examples of jurisprudence (suing an artist for plagiarizing themselves, for example; suing an artist for writing music that doesn't sound like stuff they've written before, etc.).

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Francesco Petrogalli
OK, thank you all for the kind reply.

Here is my understanding, just double cheking with you guys is my
reasoning is right.

Step 1: secure the copyright of the PDF of the composition.
I am tempted to say that this is already done by the fact that I have
stored all commits of the development of the PDF via lilypond in a
private repo on bitbucket.org. If the originality of the piece will
ever be challenged, all I need to do it either make the private repo a
public repo, or, if bitbucket dies by the time someone challenges the
originality, I just need to show the git repository I have stored in a
second secure place.

To make it even more safer than that, I can register the copyright either with:

1. the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress (online)
2. copyright.co.uk
3. https://www.costozero.org/
4. patamu.com

I have a slight preference for patamu.com, it seems quite easy and
fully online, it also has international validity, the other options
seems to be country-specific.

Step 2: register to a PRO to secure the royalties (even if no
royalties will ever come to me).

I can register to ASCAP or BMI, as an individual who is both the
composer and the publisher. It doesn't matter whether I upload the PDF
or not, the royalties will be collected on the name of the song and
the author/publisher, if someone will ever play it. If ASCAP / BMI
will ask for a copy/link of the work, I can always upload the PDF or
link an upload in, say, soundcloud, of the wave file generated from
the midi.

Then, say that the band I am giving this piece will decide to produce
a recording, they will register their recording on their favorite PRO,
simply saying that they are the publisher and that I am the writer.

Step 3: publish the PDF on the internet

When the prior steps are done, I can safely upload the PDF on my
personal website, for anyone to download. I just have to make sure
that I mark it saying "Copyright (C) 2020 by Francesco Petrogalli
(ASCAP). All rights reserved."

Thank so much for all the useful help! I just want to add a bit of
background in case there are some details that might change the way I
should do this.

1. I am a software engineer working on open source code. In the spirit
of open source, I initially wanted to use a CC-BY license on the work,
then I read this and completely changed my mind.
https://www.ascap.com/playback/2007/FALL/FEATURES/creative_commons_licensing,
which somehow seems to contradict
https://creativecommons.org/2010/06/30/response-to-ascaps-deceptive-claims/.
I would have loved to use a CC license that would have guaranteed my
royalties via ASCAP, but ASCAP doesn't seem to be happy about this
license so I will not use it.
2. The song has been written with my 7yo son. He is mentioned in the
PDF as a co-author, but I don't think I can mention it as one of the
authors in ASCAP because ASCAP requires to certify "you are 18yo or
older" when registering. I will anyway publish a video on youtube of
the "improvisation session" in which he came up with the melody. This
plus the authorship claim in the PDF will hopefully secure his part of
the copyright.

Again, thank you for the help, this is being painful and interesting
at the same time :)

Kind regards,

Francesco

PS: lilypond rocks! :)

On Thu, May 21, 2020 at 8:32 AM Tim McNamara <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
>
> > On May 21, 2020, at 3:34 AM, Valentin Villenave <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > On 5/21/20, Francesco Petrogalli <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >> I have written it with lilypond, but it hasn't been performed yet. I
> >> wanted to secure the copyright before performing it. Given that there
> >> is no performing artist yet, there is no recording, so I cannot
> >> register it with ASCAP. Have I got this right?
> >
> > No registration anywhere is needed to "secure the copyright". All you
> > need to have is a way of proving your anteriority if anyone were to
> > come and claim they’ve written it instead of you. There are several
> > commercial services that can do that for you (though many are scams),
> > but there are cheaper and simpler ways; a simple web search brought me
> > to the following page:
> > https://copyright.co.uk/legal-copyright-law.html
>
> Copyright law is nationally controlled, not internationally controlled for the most part.  There is a degree of reciprocity.  In the US, copyright is automatically granted to creators but copyright is also divided- the creator has rights but so does the publisher, which matters in terms of royalty payments if the work is recorded or performed.  As the saying goes, keep the publishing.  Thousands of artists and composers lost out on billions of dollars because they signed the publishing away in the early days of their careers in the fine print of a recording contract.  This has been standard practice in the recording industry since its inception and has beggared many a musician/composer.  I do not feel bad at all about the slow death of the major labels since the the internet made their business model basically non-viable; most of them have been right bastards to artists.  Create your own publishing company wholly owned by you.
>
> I don't know about ASCAP; I use BMI and songs can be registered with them prior to recording or performance.  ASCAP and BMI seem to work about the same as do all the performance rights organizations (PROs) in the US; these only cover live performance.  I register my songs when I judge them completed, even though no one else will likely ever perform them since I am completely unknown and they are usually weird.  I write to amuse myself, mainly.  Recording royalties through mechanical licenses in the US are managed almost universally through the Harry Fox Agency.
>
> As for proving that you are the originator of a composition, thankfully your computer records the creation date of your files.  That will almost certainly never be challenged unless you write a hit record and someone decides they want a piece of those royalties.  That has led to some truly bizarre examples of jurisprudence (suing an artist for plagiarizing themselves, for example; suing an artist for writing music that doesn't sound like stuff they've written before, etc.).

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Gilles Sadowski-2
Hi.

Le jeu. 21 mai 2020 à 19:57, Francesco Petrogalli
<[hidden email]> a écrit :
>
> OK, thank you all for the kind reply.
>
> Here is my understanding, just double cheking with you guys is my
> reasoning is right.

I can't follow the whole reasoning (see below), but the conclusion
seems nevertheless utterly unfair.

>
> Step 1: secure the copyright of the PDF of the composition.
> I am tempted to say that this is already done by the fact that I have
> stored all commits of the development of the PDF via lilypond in a
> private repo on bitbucket.org. If the originality of the piece will
> ever be challenged, all I need to do it either make the private repo a
> public repo, or, if bitbucket dies by the time someone challenges the
> originality, I just need to show the git repository I have stored in a
> second secure place.
>
> To make it even more safer than that, I can register the copyright either with:
>
> 1. the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress (online)
> 2. copyright.co.uk
> 3. https://www.costozero.org/
> 4. patamu.com
>
> I have a slight preference for patamu.com, it seems quite easy and
> fully online, it also has international validity, the other options
> seems to be country-specific.
>
> Step 2: register to a PRO to secure the royalties (even if no
> royalties will ever come to me).
>
> I can register to ASCAP or BMI, as an individual who is both the
> composer and the publisher. It doesn't matter whether I upload the PDF
> or not, the royalties will be collected on the name of the song and
> the author/publisher, if someone will ever play it. If ASCAP / BMI
> will ask for a copy/link of the work, I can always upload the PDF or
> link an upload in, say, soundcloud, of the wave file generated from
> the midi.
>
> Then, say that the band I am giving this piece will decide to produce
> a recording, they will register their recording on their favorite PRO,
> simply saying that they are the publisher and that I am the writer.
>
> Step 3: publish the PDF on the internet
>
> When the prior steps are done, I can safely upload the PDF on my
> personal website, for anyone to download. I just have to make sure
> that I mark it saying "Copyright (C) 2020 by Francesco Petrogalli
> (ASCAP). All rights reserved."
>
> Thank so much for all the useful help! I just want to add a bit of
> background in case there are some details that might change the way I
> should do this.
>
> 1. I am a software engineer working on open source code. In the spirit
> of open source, I initially wanted to use a CC-BY license on the work,
> then I read this and completely changed my mind.
> https://www.ascap.com/playback/2007/FALL/FEATURES/creative_commons_licensing,

This link is not viewable unless one accepts this site's advertizing
and targeting cookies.
So please lay out why you changed your mind about CC.

> which somehow seems to contradict
> https://creativecommons.org/2010/06/30/response-to-ascaps-deceptive-claims/.
> I would have loved to use a CC license that would have guaranteed my
> royalties via ASCAP, but ASCAP doesn't seem to be happy about this
> license so I will not use it.

IIUC, CC licences aim to protect against others making money from
your work.  How is "ASCAP not being happy" related to that?

As a comparison, proprietary software publishers can be unhappy
about FLOSS, and FUD campaigns follow.  Would that make you
stop "working on open source code"?

> 2. The song has been written with my 7yo son. He is mentioned in the
> PDF as a co-author, but I don't think I can mention it as one of the
> authors in ASCAP because ASCAP requires to certify "you are 18yo or
> older" when registering. I will anyway publish a video on youtube of
> the "improvisation session" in which he came up with the melody. This
> plus the authorship claim in the PDF will hopefully secure his part of
> the copyright.
>
> Again, thank you for the help, this is being painful and interesting
> at the same time :)
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Francesco
>
> PS: lilypond rocks! :)

Unless I'm mistaken, LilyPond (GNU) and CC belong to the "eco-system"
where sharing is the norm (to enhance the common cultural pool) while
making it hard for "free-riders".  Using the tools offered by that alternate
system, and then bow to the arguments of those who smear it seems a
contradiction.

Regards,
Gilles


>
> On Thu, May 21, 2020 at 8:32 AM Tim McNamara <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > > On May 21, 2020, at 3:34 AM, Valentin Villenave <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > >
> > > On 5/21/20, Francesco Petrogalli <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > >> I have written it with lilypond, but it hasn't been performed yet. I
> > >> wanted to secure the copyright before performing it. Given that there
> > >> is no performing artist yet, there is no recording, so I cannot
> > >> register it with ASCAP. Have I got this right?
> > >
> > > No registration anywhere is needed to "secure the copyright". All you
> > > need to have is a way of proving your anteriority if anyone were to
> > > come and claim they’ve written it instead of you. There are several
> > > commercial services that can do that for you (though many are scams),
> > > but there are cheaper and simpler ways; a simple web search brought me
> > > to the following page:
> > > https://copyright.co.uk/legal-copyright-law.html
> >
> > Copyright law is nationally controlled, not internationally controlled for the most part.  There is a degree of reciprocity.  In the US, copyright is automatically granted to creators but copyright is also divided- the creator has rights but so does the publisher, which matters in terms of royalty payments if the work is recorded or performed.  As the saying goes, keep the publishing.  Thousands of artists and composers lost out on billions of dollars because they signed the publishing away in the early days of their careers in the fine print of a recording contract.  This has been standard practice in the recording industry since its inception and has beggared many a musician/composer.  I do not feel bad at all about the slow death of the major labels since the the internet made their business model basically non-viable; most of them have been right bastards to artists.  Create your own publishing company wholly owned by you.
> >
> > I don't know about ASCAP; I use BMI and songs can be registered with them prior to recording or performance.  ASCAP and BMI seem to work about the same as do all the performance rights organizations (PROs) in the US; these only cover live performance.  I register my songs when I judge them completed, even though no one else will likely ever perform them since I am completely unknown and they are usually weird.  I write to amuse myself, mainly.  Recording royalties through mechanical licenses in the US are managed almost universally through the Harry Fox Agency.
> >
> > As for proving that you are the originator of a composition, thankfully your computer records the creation date of your files.  That will almost certainly never be challenged unless you write a hit record and someone decides they want a piece of those royalties.  That has led to some truly bizarre examples of jurisprudence (suing an artist for plagiarizing themselves, for example; suing an artist for writing music that doesn't sound like stuff they've written before, etc.).
>

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Valentin Villenave-3
In reply to this post by Francesco Petrogalli
On 5/21/20, Francesco Petrogalli <[hidden email]> wrote:
> In the spirit
> of open source, I initially wanted to use a CC-BY license on the work,
> then I read this and completely changed my mind.
> https://www.ascap.com/playback/2007/FALL/FEATURES/creative_commons_licensing,
> which somehow seems to contradict
> https://creativecommons.org/2010/06/30/response-to-ascaps-deceptive-claims/.

Uh, that’s the other way around.  The CC foundation has been trying to
counter the deceptive claims and outright lies spewed by the copyright
industry and its lackeys.

(To think that ASCAP once used to be the least worst option for
open-minded composers…)

Here’s where I can perhaps bring my own testimony, since I’ve created
some sort of a precedent by having some of my works performed in major
international venues *while* under copyleft licenses (including their
LilyPond source code).  What I opted for was individual handling of my
intellectual rights, since the various collective rights management
organizations in France are, in my view, not respectful enough of
citizenhood and democratic values (let alone any artistic or moral
integrity).

I did receive some legal threats, intimidation and what amounted to
racketeering.  Having done my homework in advance, I calmly asked them
to refer to the exact law articles (national and international) I was
operating under and get back to me.  Each time, I never heard back.
Meanwhile, not having intermediaries such as a third-party publisher
and a rights management organization to answer to, I was free to
contract directly with my commissioning structures and ask them for a
higher cut, while their own cost were lower.

Other benefits include a much closer relationship with music teachers,
small non-profit societies, musicians _everywhere_, librarians,
journalists, priests even (which is quite ironic as far as I’m
concerned), you name it.  Publishing under alternative licenses is an
ethical, human choice, which many people acknowledge and appreciate.

There are two caveats, however.

The first one is with regard to grants and subsides.  Although these
come from the government (local or national), they are generally
handled by private companies (namely, the so-called rights management
organization) and chances are that not subscribing to them will bar
you from ever getting any public sponsoring.  (Granted, the chances
are slim in the first place.)

The second one is that, for better and worse, these are indeed people
that have a very binary world view: you’re either with them, or
against them.  As soon as you’re branded as an enemy (a leftist in my
case), you can expect all sorts of pressure, all the more if you’re
starting to gain traction and artistic reputation.  Some of that
pressure is ridiculously obvious (menacing phone calls, legal threats,
see above); BUT some is much more sneaky: for example, I got blocked
twice on major projects that had _already_ been commissioned (though
the money hadn’t been delivered yet, obviously).  In the first case
the opera house’s accountant received some threats (subsides on an
other ongoing project were taken as hostage) and, as we all know, arts
programming is primarily handled by the accountants nowadays.  In
another case it was some political higher-up that picked up his phone,
asked for my head and got it immediately.

If I had to do it again, I most certainly would (and if anything, I’d
try to make even _more_ noise about it).  But it’s been, and has
remained, an uphill battle; one where you certainly can’t expect the
other side to ever “play fair” -- you are, after all, an existential
threat to all they’ve ever known and everything they’ve been making
profit of.

In the beginning, all I wanted was to spare future musicians the
hassle (the terror, really) that comes with sheet music photocopy in
all French music schools, and which any self-proclaimed “democratic”
nation should be ashamed of.  But the more I’ve discovered and the
more I’ve experienced the system from the inside (and by talking with
innumerable other composers who, just because they’ve once been silly
enough to sign up with a rights management organization, are now
feeling hopelessly trapped and taken advantage of, and look at my own
position with envy), the more I’ve been convinced that I’m, in all
respects (even my bank account, since that’s basically all what the
propaganda comes down to), on the right side of history.

Just my two cents :-)

Cheers,
-- V.

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Valentin Villenave-3
On 5/23/20, Francesco Petrogalli <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi Valentin - I am all new to these things and every time I look into
> this I get more confused.

No problem. (I’m adding back the list, just in case others may correct
me if I say something wrong and/or stupid.)

> Say I give a CC BY license to the work, and I publish it on github.
> Will I still be able to collect the royalties if someone plays it?

No. If that’s what you’re looking for, I think you should indeed
register with a Rights Management Organization (RMO): Ascap, BMI, or
any other one.  (Like I said, Ascap *used* to be one of the least
worst options.  Not sure nowadays; the race to the bottom rages on.)

Two reasons for that:
- first of all, if someone plays it then who’s going to tell you that
it’s been played somewhere? Who’s going to collect the money? That’s
what a RMO is for.
- second, if you choose a license such as CC-by, you’re giving many
authorizations to everyone: basically, all CC-by does is force them to
credit you as the author (or as a co-author, if they’ve modified your
original song to create a new work). So, you can’t _both_ authorize
people to copy, perform, and create modified versions of your work…
and forbid them from doing so unless they give you money.

A bit less open that CC-by, are “copyleft” licenses: CC by-sa, or the
Free Art License (http://artlibre.org/licence/lal/en/) which I
personally use.  They give the same permissions than CC-by, _but_ if
anyone creates copies or modified versions of your work, then they
have to share it under the same license as the one you’ve chosen
initially. Since traditional publishers and big media companies are
very reluctant to take any risk, that ensures that no “big” commercial
player is going to take advantage of your work.

Then, still a bit less open, are so-called “non-commercial” licenses;
CC-by-nc for example.  Their purpose is to give you even further
protection: you’re authorizing people to copy, perform and make
modified versions of your work, but ONLY in a non-commercial context.
The problem is that no one, so far, has any good legal (and
enforceable) definition of what “commercial” means; if a school
performs your song to gather money for a school trip, does that count?
 If someone plays it in the street, with a hat placed before them on
the sidewalk to encourage donations, does that count? etc.

Then, even less open, you have no-derivatives licenses: CC-by-nd.
This allows people to download and copy your work, but ONLY as you
published it in the first place: modifying it is not authorized by the
license.  Which is a problem when it comes to art; a music score, for
example, is bound to be reinvented and interpreted (which is to say,
“modified”) every time someone plays it.  And what about remix?  And
“theme and variations”, as composers used to do?  And musical quotes
(for example in jazz improvisations)?  There isn’t a single composer
in the 18th and 19th century who wouldn’t have ended up in jail (or in
debt) if the law had been what it is today: no more Bach turning
Vivaldi’s violin concertos into harpsichord pieces, no more Telemann,
well, at all; no more Ravel orchestrating Moussorgsky, and so on.

Note that I said “not authorized by the license”.  No matter the
license you choose, anyone can still get in touch with you, and
negotiate a “license exception”: some special, limited authorization
outside the license’s terms -- which you can grant if that person’s
offering you money, or if you decide to help them or whatever.

… BUT that last sentence only applies if you’re managing your rights
on your own. If you sign up with a RMO, then all bets are off; _they_
will decide for you which authorizations to give, how much money to
ask for, whom to sue in your name,… and you will have NO control
whatsoever over it.  (Most of the time actually, you won’t even know
what’s happening with your work until months later or even a couple
years after the fact.)

> I would feel too bad if the CC license on the PDF wouldn't allow
> me to record this with a band and register the recording (not the PDF
> itself) with ASCAP.

Unfortunately, that won’t work: imagine someone else, with another
band (or a guitar, or whatever) downloads your score and records your
song.  If _your_ recording has been registered with Ascap, that makes
this _other_ recording a counterfeit in their eyes, and they won’t
hesitate to sue them.  (Unless it’s a more famous and powerful band
already registered with another RMO or even with Ascap itself, in
which case you’d be surprised how fast they’ll let it slide and give
you mere pennies for your trouble).

Actually, it goes even further: since you’re not allowed to authorize
exceptions by yourself, YOU cannot even share copies of your own work
as freely as you’d want. You won’t be able, for example, to upload a
video of your song on YouTube without half a dozen of copyright robots
immediately complaining about “infringement”, demanding to slap ads on
it, or even to mute your video (yay, a music video without sound!
Nice.).  To be honest, that’s unlikely to happen unless your recording
gets “protected” by a record label in addition to Ascap; but if it
does (speaking from personal, if indirect, experience), let me tell
you that sucks.

In that sense, since publishing under a Free License allows your work
to propagate much more widely, it *may* actually give you *more*
safety than the usual publishing model: the more your work is visible
and available online, the more likely you are to hear if someone’s
been using it without your consent in a TV ad or whatever.  (Whereas a
RMO, again, might not care unless you’re famous or worth a lot of
money -- *even* if you’re registered with them.)

BUT, as I said, if your handling your own rights individually, then if
it’s royalties you want, you’ll need to watch out constantly for
unauthorized performances, call anyone that play your song and
repeatedly try to collect your money.  That’s more or less a full-time
job, and I don’t think anyone can really sustain that without ending
up registering to an RMO.

> Are you totally handling your royalties on a per case basis? How do
> you do that? You print your email address on the music and ask people
> to contact you if they  want to play it / record it, and then you set
> up a contract?

Well, I’ve tried several different models.

- As a composer, the simplest thing to do is rely on commissions
rather than on post-facto rights (residuals, royalties, etc.): I ask
to get paid (comfortably) for the amount of time I’ve spent writing
the piece, but I’m not asking for anything after I’ve put the final
\bar "|."
It’s somewhat of a bargain: if the piece is hugely successful, that
won’t make me rich for the rest of my life.  If it’s a disaster, then
I don’t care since I’ve already been paid anyway :-)

- Free licenses sometimes may allow you to engage differently with
your audience (and most importantly, your performers).  Contrary to
the usual capitalist dog-eat-dog paradigm where all of us are trying
to survive and make a profit whenever we can (even if/when that means
forgetting any moral standard), when you put your work out there and
tell people: “go ahead and enjoy; my goal is not to sell you something
but to do my best and hope you like it”, well, many people (not all,
but quite a few) look at you quite differently.  As an example, I
spent a few years performing in a musical play where I had written
most of the songs; every night after the play, I’d go out and address
the audience: “all the songs you’ve been hearing tonight are available
under a free license; you may download them at <URL>, but there are
also some paper copies available for you at the exit; you can have
them for any price you’ll choose.”
After a few dozen of performances, I noticed that this was actually a
success: people paid on average nearly €12 per copy (50 pages of
LilyPonded black-and-white contemporary music)! Not to mention that
they had *already* paid for their ticket to the performance…

- If you’ve looked around in the past dozen years, there’s a huge
trend towards alternative funding models these days: from Kickstarter
yesteryear to Patreon today (hey, remember Flattr?); all these new
intermediaries are not exempt from criticism (far from it), but you’ll
notice that none of them rely exclusively on the sacrosanct
“all-rights-reserved” paradigm, the way RMOs do.

- I mentioned earlier that free licenses are popular with priests and
religious people; as an atheist and an anarchist, that would be the
last sort of circles I’d be expecting to find myself comfortable
around, and yet I’ve given quite a few lectures and contributions in
such venues.  I think it’s somehow relaxing, at times, to choose to
just trust your fellow human beings (neighbors or remote people)
rather than expecting everyone to be trying to take advantage of you.
That doesn’t mean you should be naive; some people WILL scam you if
given the chance; but the energy you spend making sure that doesn’t
happen is often far superior to whatever hypothetical loss you might
experience.

If I had any advice to give you, it would be that: that score you’ve
been building together with your son seems like a very sweet and happy
project; I sincerely hope it’s going to be performed as pleasantly as
you can wish for, and that people will be happy and moved when they
hear it.

Now, the copyright industry’s propaganda would have you believe that
_none_ of that can or should happen without them getting a piece of
the cake; that’s not true.  They would want you to live in fear that
thousands of greedy musicians around the world are waiting in the
shadows, and will make lots and lots of money off of your work unless
they’re here to “defend” your interests; that’s not true either.  They
would want us to believe that giving anything away for free is a sign
of weakness and will only encourage others to act dishonestly; that is
the opposite of the truth.

I’m not saying the world is a nice place (it isn’t); you should, at
the very least, secure *your* copyright by having a solid proof of
anteriority, as we discussed.  What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t
overestimate the possible threat to your work if you were to publish
it freely, nor the amount and quality of “protection” you’ll get from
any RMO out there.

Good luck, whatever you choose! Not to put any additional pressure on
you, but if your score is engraved with LilyPond and you end up
publishing it freely, when that band performs it I’ll ask the -devel
team how they’d feel about mentioning it on
http://lilypond.org/productions.html :-)

Congratulations to your son; here’s hoping someday he’ll be able to
write down his music without requiring your help!

Cheers,
-- V.

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

antlists
In reply to this post by Gilles Sadowski-2
On 22/05/2020 13:26, Gilles Sadowski wrote:
> IIUC, CC licences aim to protect against others making money from
> your work.  How is "ASCAP not being happy" related to that?
>

> Unless I'm mistaken, LilyPond (GNU) and CC belong to the "eco-system"
> where sharing is the norm (to enhance the common cultural pool) while
> making it hard for "free-riders".  Using the tools offered by that alternate
> system, and then bow to the arguments of those who smear it seems a
> contradiction.
>
You're correct that GNU and CC belong to the eco-system where sharing is
the norm, but NEITHER have any objection to others making making money
(yes they do both object to free-riders).

CC has an *optional* clause that forbids commercial activity (I use it
on my photos), and GNU forbids charging for THE SOFTWARE. But CC doesn't
forbid commercial activity by default, and GNU permits charging for
services, such as supplying the software, supporting the software, and
anything like that.

Cheers,
Wol

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

antlists
In reply to this post by Valentin Villenave-3
On 23/05/2020 20:21, Valentin Villenave wrote:
> I’m not saying the world is a nice place (it isn’t); you should, at
> the very least, secure*your*  copyright by having a solid proof of
> anteriority, as we discussed.  What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t
> overestimate the possible threat to your work if you were to publish
> it freely, nor the amount and quality of “protection” you’ll get from
> any RMO out there.

for the sake of a few pennies, there's an easy way to prove the date.
Used, I believe, by some law firm in America for its legal documents,
and easy enough to do here in England too.

Put all of your stuff on a CD. Now run a program that generates an MD5
checksum or whatever it is, and save both the command and output to a
text file. (I'd throw in a listing of the CD too.) Print this, as an
advert, in a legal newspaper such as - in London - Lloyds Gazette.

That CD can now be copied freely, the MD5 sum won't change. And the
advert proves that it was in existence on the date of the newspaper. You
don't even need to save a copy of the newspaper - the fact that it is a
newspaper of legal announcements means that there will be loads of
copies kept, probably a lot of them by courts themselves!

Cheers,
Wol

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Hans Åberg-2

> On 23 May 2020, at 23:00, antlists <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 23/05/2020 20:21, Valentin Villenave wrote:
>> I’m not saying the world is a nice place (it isn’t); you should, at
>> the very least, secure*your*  copyright by having a solid proof of
>> anteriority, as we discussed.  What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t
>> overestimate the possible threat to your work if you were to publish
>> it freely, nor the amount and quality of “protection” you’ll get from
>> any RMO out there.
>
> for the sake of a few pennies, there's an easy way to prove the date. Used, I believe, by some law firm in America for its legal documents, and easy enough to do here in England too.
>
> Put all of your stuff on a CD. Now run a program that generates an MD5 checksum or whatever it is, and save both the command and output to a text file. (I'd throw in a listing of the CD too.) Print this, as an advert, in a legal newspaper such as - in London - Lloyds Gazette.
>
> That CD can now be copied freely, the MD5 sum won't change. And the advert proves that it was in existence on the date of the newspaper. You don't even need to save a copy of the newspaper - the fact that it is a newspaper of legal announcements means that there will be loads of copies kept, probably a lot of them by courts themselves!

Don’t use MD5 though, as it is not considered secure. SHA-256 and SHA-512 are better.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Md5sum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SHA-2



Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

David Wright
On Sat 23 May 2020 at 23:35:10 (+0200), Hans Åberg wrote:

> > On 23 May 2020, at 23:00, antlists <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On 23/05/2020 20:21, Valentin Villenave wrote:
> >> I’m not saying the world is a nice place (it isn’t); you should, at
> >> the very least, secure*your*  copyright by having a solid proof of
> >> anteriority, as we discussed.  What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t
> >> overestimate the possible threat to your work if you were to publish
> >> it freely, nor the amount and quality of “protection” you’ll get from
> >> any RMO out there.
> >
> > for the sake of a few pennies, there's an easy way to prove the date. Used, I believe, by some law firm in America for its legal documents, and easy enough to do here in England too.
> >
> > Put all of your stuff on a CD. Now run a program that generates an MD5 checksum or whatever it is, and save both the command and output to a text file. (I'd throw in a listing of the CD too.) Print this, as an advert, in a legal newspaper such as - in London - Lloyds Gazette.
> >
> > That CD can now be copied freely, the MD5 sum won't change. And the advert proves that it was in existence on the date of the newspaper. You don't even need to save a copy of the newspaper - the fact that it is a newspaper of legal announcements means that there will be loads of copies kept, probably a lot of them by courts themselves!
>
> Don’t use MD5 though, as it is not considered secure. SHA-256 and SHA-512 are better.

Yes, not cyptographically secure. But that's not the threat model, is it?

So, I carefully craft a document whose MD5 digest matches the musical
work. What shall I do? I've either created another work that the real
owner can pass of as theirs, depriving me of the benefit, or I've
created a confession of past crimes, which I can hand to the police
so that the owner, my rival composer, gets locked up.

They don't seem very likely scenarios.

However, I don't expect it to cost many more pennies to publish
several digests.

Cheers,
David.

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Tim McNamara
You know, the human race managed this pretty successfully for a few hundred years before computers... seems like this might be overthinking it.

> On May 23, 2020, at 6:30 PM, David Wright <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On Sat 23 May 2020 at 23:35:10 (+0200), Hans Åberg wrote:
>>>> On 23 May 2020, at 23:00, antlists <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> On 23/05/2020 20:21, Valentin Villenave wrote:
>>>>> I’m not saying the world is a nice place (it isn’t); you should, at
>>>>> the very least, secure*your*  copyright by having a solid proof of
>>>>> anteriority, as we discussed.  What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t
>>>>> overestimate the possible threat to your work if you were to publish
>>>>> it freely, nor the amount and quality of “protection” you’ll get from
>>>>> any RMO out there.
>>>> for the sake of a few pennies, there's an easy way to prove the date. Used, I believe, by some law firm in America for its legal documents, and easy enough to do here in England too.
>>>> Put all of your stuff on a CD. Now run a program that generates an MD5 checksum or whatever it is, and save both the command and output to a text file. (I'd throw in a listing of the CD too.) Print this, as an advert, in a legal newspaper such as - in London - Lloyds Gazette.
>>>> That CD can now be copied freely, the MD5 sum won't change. And the advert proves that it was in existence on the date of the newspaper. You don't even need to save a copy of the newspaper - the fact that it is a newspaper of legal announcements means that there will be loads of copies kept, probably a lot of them by courts themselves!
>> Don’t use MD5 though, as it is not considered secure. SHA-256 and SHA-512 are better.
>
> Yes, not cyptographically secure. But that's not the threat model, is it?
>
> So, I carefully craft a document whose MD5 digest matches the musical
> work. What shall I do? I've either created another work that the real
> owner can pass of as theirs, depriving me of the benefit, or I've
> created a confession of past crimes, which I can hand to the police
> so that the owner, my rival composer, gets locked up.
>
> They don't seem very likely scenarios.
>
> However, I don't expect it to cost many more pennies to publish
> several digests.
>
> Cheers,
> David.


Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Gilles Sadowski-2
In reply to this post by antlists
Le sam. 23 mai 2020 à 22:46, antlists <[hidden email]> a écrit :

>
> On 22/05/2020 13:26, Gilles Sadowski wrote:
> > IIUC, CC licences aim to protect against others making money from
> > your work.  How is "ASCAP not being happy" related to that?
> >
>
> > Unless I'm mistaken, LilyPond (GNU) and CC belong to the "eco-system"
> > where sharing is the norm (to enhance the common cultural pool) while
> > making it hard for "free-riders".  Using the tools offered by that alternate
> > system, and then bow to the arguments of those who smear it seems a
> > contradiction.
> >
> You're correct that GNU and CC belong to the eco-system where sharing is
> the norm, but NEITHER have any objection to others making making money
> (yes they do both object to free-riders).

And they do object to being misrepresented, wherein lays the contradiction
I was pointing out, not about "making money" (which I evoked similarly to
what you did, as quoted below).

Regards,
Gilles

> CC has an *optional* clause that forbids commercial activity (I use it
> on my photos), and GNU forbids charging for THE SOFTWARE. But CC doesn't
> forbid commercial activity by default, and GNU permits charging for
> services, such as supplying the software, supporting the software, and
> anything like that.
>
> Cheers,
> Wol
>

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

Carl Sorensen-3
In reply to this post by antlists


On 5/23/20, 2:46 PM, "antlists" <[hidden email]> wrote:

On 22/05/2020 13:26, Gilles Sadowski wrote:
>> IIUC, CC licences aim to protect against others making money from
>> your work.  How is "ASCAP not being happy" related to that?
>>

> >Unless I'm mistaken, LilyPond (GNU) and CC belong to the "eco-system"
> >where sharing is the norm (to enhance the common cultural pool) while
> >making it hard for "free-riders".  Using the tools offered by that alternate
>> system, and then bow to the arguments of those who smear it seems a
>> contradiction.
>>
> You're correct that GNU and CC belong to the eco-system where sharing is
> the norm, but NEITHER have any objection to others making making money
> (yes they do both object to free-riders).
>
> CC has an *optional* clause that forbids commercial activity (I use it
> on my photos), and GNU forbids charging for THE SOFTWARE.

Actually, GNU allows charging for the software.  From the Preamble to the GNU GPL:

"When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish)"

Carl


Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

David Kastrup
In reply to this post by antlists
antlists <[hidden email]> writes:

> On 22/05/2020 13:26, Gilles Sadowski wrote:
>> IIUC, CC licences aim to protect against others making money from
>> your work.  How is "ASCAP not being happy" related to that?
>>
>
>> Unless I'm mistaken, LilyPond (GNU) and CC belong to the "eco-system"
>> where sharing is the norm (to enhance the common cultural pool) while
>> making it hard for "free-riders".  Using the tools offered by that alternate
>> system, and then bow to the arguments of those who smear it seems a
>> contradiction.
>>
> You're correct that GNU and CC belong to the eco-system where sharing
> is the norm, but NEITHER have any objection to others making making
> money (yes they do both object to free-riders).
>
> CC has an *optional* clause that forbids commercial activity (I use it
> on my photos), and GNU forbids charging for THE SOFTWARE.

Uh, no?  GNU allows you to charge whatever price you can get for the
software.  It does not allow you to charge _extra_ for the source code
or for the right to retain a license under the GPL.  Source code (or the
right to it) and the license always have to be part of the sale.

Companies like RedHat grew by _selling_ CDs with GNU software on them,
at a price point where undercutting them with copies of their disks
would not have been a compelling business proposition.  But they still
turned a profit from doing it well and at large scale.

> But CC doesn't forbid commercial activity by default, and GNU permits
> charging for services, such as supplying the software, supporting the
> software, and anything like that.

And selling CDs at arbitrary price point with GPLed GNU software on
them.

--
David Kastrup

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

antlists
In reply to this post by Carl Sorensen-3
On 24/05/20 01:08, Carl Sorensen wrote:
> Actually, GNU allows charging for the software.  From the Preamble to the GNU GPL:
>
> "When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish)"

You have freedom to charge for the SERVICE of DISTRIBUTING the software
(which I said :-), not the freedom of charging for the software itself.

Yes, I know I'm being pedantic, but when you're dealing with the law
pedanticism matters :-)

(GPL v2 contains some bugs, and some people actively exploit those bugs
as features ...)

Cheers,
Wol

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: registering a composition

David Kastrup
Wols Lists <[hidden email]> writes:

> On 24/05/20 01:08, Carl Sorensen wrote:
>> Actually, GNU allows charging for the software.  From the Preamble to the GNU GPL:
>>
>> "When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
>> price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that
>> you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and
>> charge for them if you wish)"
>
> You have freedom to charge for the SERVICE of DISTRIBUTING the software
> (which I said :-), not the freedom of charging for the software itself.

That is like saying I can charge for the service of distributing the
contents of a book, not for the contents themselves.

What is the "contents themselves" without a means of dissemination, a
medium?

> Yes, I know I'm being pedantic, but when you're dealing with the law
> pedanticism matters :-)
>
> (GPL v2 contains some bugs, and some people actively exploit those bugs
> as features ...)

A license does not contain "bugs".  Pedanticism does not mean using
words with a different meaning than anybody else.  It means using them
more carefully according to their agreed-upon meaning.

--
David Kastrup

12