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Want to post songs I just recorded but have copyright questions first!

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Hi all!

Yesterday I visited a super-affordable neighborhood recording studio and for the very first time recorded myself singing a couple songs. I did vocal covers over karaoke backing tracks that I purchased on iTunes. They are saved as MP3s. I also had the engineer save me the raw vocal tracks, with nothing behind them.

My only intention is to use these MP3s as demos to get feedback and to try to meet other local musicians so I can try jamming with actual, live folks. :)

I looked at SoundCloud and SoundClick as places to upload them to, but they seem very particular about copyright, and I'm just not sure where I stand with that. Both with the raw cover vocals and with the karaoke tracks (although I did purchase them).

I have them uploaded on my profile at the Modern Vocalist World's Social Network (http://www.themodernvocalist.com/profile/JulieAnneWoodHolmlund), but it seems that requires a different log-in than this discussion board?

I'm EXTREMELY eager to get feedback here, but just not sure where I can legally upload these songs and then use that link to put on places like this. Any suggestions are deeply appreciated!!!

Julie Anne Wood

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I use soundclick as do many others here. I list my songs under "cover songs" and in the song info include the author of the song. I think there is a section on soundclick that you click when uploading a song where you state this is a cover and give credit to the song originator.

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Thanks so much, Tommy!

So I'm setting up a SoundClick account right now.

When I go to upload songs this comes up:

"Add new song(s) now! We approve only accounts with at least one original song."

So I guess I'll need to record at least something original? I have a sleepy song I made up to sing to my son when he was tiny. :P

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Tommy, just wanted to confirm: are you signed up as a band/artist with SoundClick?

Just an artist. If you have a band then put band. it doesn't really matter much. Whatever fits you best. Signed/unsigned...whatever. :)

I think everything is just a formality. Upload your song, hit the edit button and add the info asked for like who wrote the song, any comments, etc. there is a dropdown box to add genre. Example: Rock, Rock cover songs, Rock general, etc.

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Recordings submitted in this forum are usually for educational purposes, with absolutely no money being made from them. Technically, if you have purchased a karaoke track, you have already paid copyright for the use of the music because the karaoke company has already paid it and it is in the price they charge you. Trust me, in business, nothing is "free."

I have a large number of songs in this forum and posted on my TMV page, as well. And I always list the band or singer that wrote it, mostly for historical purposes but it does serve to show that I am not assuming copyright of the song.

On the one original song of mine that I have posted, I do list original copyright (1990) as well as copyright date of first digital upload. Essentially, the first time you create a recording in a format or medium that others can hear, counts as a functional copyright.

As for violating the copyright of the original artists, I don't think that we are. At the very least, we are not making money from it.

Now, let's say that I wanted to record an album for public release on itunes. And let's say that I wanted to include my cover of "No Stranger to Love." And "Ramble On." Well, the first step would be to pay a blanket fee to ASCAP for use of any songs in their catalog. It's cheaper than song by song. Then, the original artist gets payments from ASCAP because I used their song. In the case of the first song, it's up to ASCAP to see that Tony Iommi, Glenn Hughes, and Black Sabbath all get their checks.

However, I think, here, you are probably safe. At least no one has pursued me for my performance of covers. Maybe, it could be said, my covers make the song unrecognizable. :lol:

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As my own label and publisher, I think I can clear the air on copyrights, having become an expert in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). I will discuss original music as well as cover songs.

1. Original Songs.

By definition, the U.S. Copyright office states that just as soon as you put something into any format, either lyrics on paper, a vocal or instrumental part recorded, even if its just humming into a tape recorder, it is considered protected under copyright law. However it would be considered unregistered. What that means is that although protected, you may not be able to sue another person for infringement unless it is registered or you have another way to prove a date of origination. If you upload something, it will have a digital signature marking date and time it was uploaded. If you don't have the money to register your work with the U.S. Copyright office, you can always do the "poor man's copyright". That is to mail it, be it a sheet of paper, or a cd, or whatever, to yourself. It will be stamped with a date by the U.S. Postal Service, thus proving a date.

With the U.S. Copyright office there are two ways to register. You can register a single song for $30(last I checked) each. Or you can register a collection of works, such as an album for $30. The downside to that is that it is only protected as a body of work and can leave each individual song unprotected.

Being a member of a performance organization doesn't have anything to do with your own original work. Unless you want to allow others to play and perform your work. Then your membership can benefit you financially if someone wants to record and sell a cover version of your song(s).

2. Cover Songs.

This is where it gets tricky. Many of us have a 'cover' version of a song uploaded online. Ron is correct to a point. If you have purchase a karaoke track, you have done your part and paid for someone elses recording. BTW, almost all of your karaoke tracks are recorded by session musicians and not the original artists.

These tracks allow those who don't have other means to record music, but want to sing to them, the ability to sing along to the music. However, the fair use rights stop there. You can record yourself to it and upload it or pass it out to friends(for free). If you charge money for your cover version, then you have crossed the line into needing a license from either the publisher or performance organization such as ASCAP.

For example, your average cover band that plays the local bar/club do not have an ASCAP membership or any other company. If they are getting paid for their gigs, then technically, they are breaking copyright law, i.e. they are making money on someone else's music. If the club has a dj who plays top 40 or whatever genre and the club doesn't have a blanket license, they are breaking the law.

You will notice, that most of the really good musicians on places like you tube who have some sort of cover such as a collaboration etc, will have in the description that the music was recorderd and posted for entertainment purposes and that no money is being made from the recording. sort of a standard waiver.

So, to rephrase, you can post covers online as much as you want as long as you are not making money from it. Otherwise its piracy, infringement, etc.

I think I have mentioned everything. probably not, lol. If anyone has any questions about copyrights or intellectual property rights, just ask.

As I mentioned, this is part of my business as I represent myself and my music as well as any covers I do. Being smart here will save you a ton of headaches.

Currently I am working on almost a dozen covers myself. I play all instruments on the ones I am currently working on. I have been thinking about advertising my services to record music for other vocalists but I am not sure if it is allowed here. Might have to shoot off an email to Robert to get permission.

Anyway, hope I have helped someone.

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