The Free Software Foundation is starting a campaign against the imposition of DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology by colluding mega media. Their new campaign is called Defective by Design. Tomorrow they join Ray Beckerman, in a conference call , the objective is to communicate the importance of thwarting the RIAA’s strategy of bullying consumers with punitive and meritless lawsuits.
The Defective by Design campaign is also trying to enlist U2’s singer Bono in the fight against big business media companies.
Ray blogs about it here , find out more about this important issue and see how you can help.
Many, many moons I had checked into this and the conclusion at the time was that it was expensive and a hazzle to copyright one’s stuff. There was of course the alternative , the poor man’s copyrght. Basically just mail yourself the copyright-able material and keep the envelope un-opened. I actually read this in a book. However, this strategy may have some holes in it or so RegisterMyCopyRight.com thinks. They may have an obvious bias but it does make sense to protect our labors of love. Really, better safe than sorry and especially when well, it is so easy to do nowadays. It is also not expensive. Here is some of the how and who:
Most independent musicians will be interested in what is called an SR (sound recording) copyright. This is what protects your audio recordings from piracy. Well, better said it affords you rights in the case that your work is pirated and otherwise used for profit without your consent. The form can be obtained at the U.S. Copyright Office. It will cost you a $45.00 application fee and of course shipping costs. In this case, it also makes sense to send the package as “registered” mail.
The SR application is overall pretty straightforward but an application nonetheless and if you can’t be bothered then there are outfits that will help you out. As previously referenced RegisterMyCopyRight.com is one. Another outfit and one associated with GarageBand.com is ClickAndCopy.com.
One thing to note is that your work is under copyright enforcement from the moment the U.S. Copyright Office receives your application so as soon as possible is probably the best time to send things in. To save money , it is a good idea to copyright an entire album i.e. a “compilation” there is only one application fee per claim and in the case of a compilation i.e. your album all of the tunes within the compilation fall under the protection of the compilation’s claim.
For an artist the on-line forum becomes that virtual club house where his or her fans can meet. The forum allows the artist to keep in closer touch. Tentative touring schedules can be posted. Samples of new material can be shared way before an album is actually ready for release. Depending on the artist , the genre of music and just plain availability, the forum can be a great place for the artist to interact or give back.
I just recently setup an on-line forum for Jon Raney. In Jon’s case, he loves to engage in discussions regarding the art of writing good music. The discussions tend to be about Jazz and the fusion of Jazz with Latin and other genres but even the pop composer will find some great advise here. Jon has been contributing to these types of discussions for years but now we have setup a venue where we can bring the discussions here. To the students of Jazz and those like myself that want to develop their skills in composing this forum is truly a great resource, not only because Jon is very knowledgeable but because he is willing to share and spend the time. These traits of knowledge and willingness do not happen very often.
As a composition student of Jon’s I have had the chance to exercise the forum. Already, I think that there are some interesting threads. Soon , and to coincide with the release of the second generation of Jon’s web site, we will be making announcements to colleagues and friends about its availability.
To conclude , the independent artist to be viable , must develop a loyal following of fans. Fans of the music but also perhaps students of the teachings an artist may wish to share about the craft of music writing. The on-line community as facilitated by tools such as forum hosting applications, is an indispensable tool in developing the artist’s fan base.