Guitarist on Stage

Some Thoughts on Songwriting and Uniqueness

This morning I retweeted a great article by producer/engineer Bobby Owsinski, “It’s Getting Harder And Harder To Write A Song Without Committing Plagiarism.” The article makes the point that because the judicial system now considers similarity of the basic feel of a song to be considered in a plagiarism case, along with melody and lyrics, […]

copyright issues in songwriting

Using Copyright-Protected Music In Your Own Music: How To Do It

I’m occasionally contacted by songwriters with questions surrounding the issue of copyright. Probably the most common question I’m asked is if there is any way to use part of another pre-existing song as a starting point for a new one. If you’re interested in using a bit of recognizable lyric or a short snippet of […]

Copyright

When a Chord Progression Might Be Protected by Copyright

If you like starting your songwriting process with chords, you’re usually OK to take pretty much any chord progression you hear in anyone else’s song. That’s because chord progressions, on their own, are not protected by copyright. But having said that, there’s a caution here that you should consider when you do, in fact, use someone else’s […]

Songwriter- Writer's Block

What You Can Copy From Another Song

We all know that songs need to be unique. You can’t take someone’s melody or lyrics and call them your own. Most songwriters know, though, that chord progressions aren’t generally protected by copyright. So that’s certainly one element of a song that you can take and use, guilt-free. If you’re trying to develop a lyrics-first […]

Songwriting and copyright

The Business of Songwriting – The Stuff Songwriters Hate

Most songwriters are the kind of people that just want to write some great songs. Getting the business details right can be distracting. But if your hope is to get your songs out there for others to enjoy, the business side of songwriting, including copyright, mechanical rights, and other important aspects of the business, is […]

The Full Story on “Poor Man’s Copyright”

The term “poor man’s copyright” refers to the practice of mailing a copy of your song — or any other work that you’ve created — to yourself via registered mail, leaving the envelope unopened. Since registered mail displays the date of mailing, it’s believed that it can serve to support the assertion that you are the author of […]