General music copyright question

• Apr 13, 2023 - 18:26

So, I play guitar, and record my music in the DAW. I am not a composer and don't write or read music or tab, but as a retired IT guy I am pretty good with technology. I don't play keyboard, but bought a Arturia minilab and can figure out how to add some keyboard parts. The technology is available and I can convert my guitar parts to midi and import into musescore. My question is, if I want to send my scores for copyright, how detailed should they be. Would the guitar solo's in a song be added or just the chords and lyrics. The songs sound pretty good in the musescore playback as piano, but the scores get pretty long with all the notes of guitar solo's added. A five minute song with several guitar parts gets in the 50 pages range for a pdf. I can't imagine that detail of score would have been available in the past. As I am new to this, I have no idea.


In reply to by tonywyatt56

As soon as you compose something original, you have copy right. Usually people just write the "tune" without solos and get it published, even on MS or youtube or facebook to prove date of ownership. I register mine with a performing rights organization, and I perform them, with band, advertised.

The solos are really not germane.

In reply to by xavierjazz

I recall that copyright cannot be enforced until it is registered, which means that others can make copies of your work, modify it as they like without your permission, and distribute their infringing work (for profit or otherwise) with no compensation to you until you get it registered and tell them to stop. IANAL, but I believe that if you want to get the benefits of a copyright, you should register one. Last time I read a page that explained the most economical way of doing that, it was one that explained that it was possible in the USA to copyright a collection of works, e.g. a group of songs, for something less than $500. IDK if that is still possible. Good luck with your creations!

In reply to by msfp

After reading through that topic, I have more questions than answers about my original query. As noted in the thread, it would only really matter if a song became famous. Also noted in the thread, I probably couldn't play the solo note for note again. The solos are captured and can be converted to midi imported into musescore and transcribed into sheet music. But then I have a 50 plus page pdf of sheet music for one song.

In reply to by ogpual

U.S copyright office says $65 to register a group of music on an album and audio recording of the work is a separate registration. Then their is the MLC. Here is a clip from the faq. "Musical works do not need to be registered with the Copyright Office to be eligible for certain statutory royalties paid through the MLC. However, to obtain statutory royalties for certain non-digital uses (e.g. CDs, vinyl), your musical works must be in the Copyright Office’s records, which may be accomplished through registration. Registering a work for copyright, does offer certain additional protections, such as the ability to pursue statutory damages and attorneys’ fees in infringement lawsuits. " I am just trying to research what the procedures would be. I am not sure anyone would want to listen to plagiarize my music.

In reply to by tonywyatt56

Ah yes, copyright. Two true stories. One implied copyright and the other, explicit.

And artist past by a farm while on a walk. From the road he snapped a photo of a horse. He later painted a picture of the horse. A bit later the owner of the horse saw the painting and recognized his horse. He sued the artist and won because the artist never asked permission to paint the a picture of the horse.

A college band on tour played a concert in a certain city. The next day someone found a trombone player had left their folder of music. All the music in the folder was xerox copies. The college was sued and lost to the tune of 100's of thousands of dollars.

And then there is the case of Huey Lewis and Ray Parker Jr. Ghostbusters is an obvious ripoff of the bassline and general feel of I Want a New Drug. Both parties ended up suing each other and winning over different aspects.

Fortunately, I'll never write anything good enough to worry about it.

In reply to by bobjp

Yeah, the Beatles paid a big settlement because one of their big hits was claimed to infringe one of the Glenn Miller orchestra's big hits. I won't name the songs, but before you look it up, try to think of any Beatles hit that sounds anything like any of Glenn Miller's hits, and I doubt you can come up with anything. Every time I ever retained a lawyer or had to talk to someone else's lawyer, I learned something both startling and unpleasant.

In the United States, you don't have to guess. The government website, "," gives definitive information about the various types of copyright registration that are available and exactly what the submission requirements and alternatives are for each. You can register your works on-line and the registration takes legal effect immediately. (Eventually, a pretty piece of paper will arrive in the mail. But you don't have to wait for it.)

The cost, IIRC, is about $35, and for convenience you can register a "collection" of works at one time for one price. The concept of "a collection" is only an administrative practicality: each registration stands alone.

There is of course the legal principle that "copyright belongs to the creator from the instant of creation," but a registered copyright is like the title certificate for a car: an independently verifiable statement, made under penalty of perjury, that you claim that you do, indeed, own it and therefore possess the legal right to sell or license it. Anyone who wants to BUY your work is going to verify this claim (also online ...), record exactly how and when they did so, and call it, "due diligence." Just like will happen when you buy or sell a car, and for the same reasons.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.