FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (F.A.Q.)


1.  How do I copyright my songs?
2.  Do I need to register my songs?

3.  How much does it cost to register my songs?

4.  Do I have to be a member to register my songs in the Song Vault?
5.  Do my songs remain protected if my membership lapses?
6.  What does the Songwriters Association of Canada offer for songwriters?
7.  Can I apply if I don't live in Canada?
8.  Do I have to be a Canadian to sign up?
9.  How can I become a member?
10.  What are your office hours?
11.  How do I get my songs out there?
12.  How do I find others to sing my songs?
13.  I'm a lyricist/melody writer, how do I find a melody writer/lyricist to co-write with?
14.  I want to sell my song? What do I do?
15.  I'm in a band, do all band members have to become S.A.C. members to register a song?
16.  I don't have a credit card/don't like to put my card online, how can I sign up for membership?
17.  How do I find a publisher/manager/booking agent?
18.  I want to record a cover, what do I need to do?

20.  How do I find out if a song is in the public domain?
21.  Someone wants to record my song, what do I need to do?
22.  Someone wants to use my recording on a website, tv show, etc what do I need to do?
23.  How do I get my songs on iTunes?
24.  How do I get my CD into stores?

1.  How do I copyright my songs?
Copyright in Canada exists upon the creation of a work in tangible format (written down or recorded on CD, Tape, Vinyl - mp3s are NOT protected)...so once you have a recording of your music, it is protected. This protection is worldwide.

There are several ways to register that copyright. You can go through the Canadian Intellectual Property office (CIPO) - www.cipo.ic.gc.ca - and register a title or a collection of songs. Option two is the Library of Congress - www.copyright.gov - in the USA. The S.A.C. provides the "Song Vault" a copyright protection service to members only.  More detailed information about our copyright protection service is available by Clicking Here.

2.  Do I need to register my songs?

It is advised that you protect your rights before any disputes arise, especially if you are submitting your music to outside parties (ie: myspace, facebook, song contests, songpluggers, etc).  All co-writers must sign the Song Vault form in order for the registration to be valid.

3.  How much does it cost to register my songs?

All the details can be found by Clicking Here.

4.  Do I have to be a member to register my songs in the Song Vault?

Yes.

5.  Do my songs remain protected if my membership lapses?
Yes.  Once a song is registered, it is permanently registered. However, you will need to be a member in good standing in order to have these songs retrieved by the courts if they are required for proof of creation/submission.

6.  What does the Songwriters Association of Canada offer for songwriters?
We have put together 2 comprehensive pages about benefits of membership.  For “Reasons to Join”  Click Here.  For “Membership Benefits” Click Here.

7.  Can I apply if I don't live in Canada?
We welcome international memberships and have many members who live abroad.  A membership to the S.A.C. still incurs many benefits that can be enjoyed overseas, including connecting with other members, the Song Vault, song assessments and song pitching to name a few.

8.  Do I have to be a Canadian to sign up?
No, we welcome international members.

9.  How can I become a member?
Just Click Here for online registration or call our office at 1-866-456-SONG.

10.  What are your office hours?
Please contact us Mondays to Fridays between 9:30am-5pm EST

11.  How do I get my songs out there?

There are several ways to get your song out there.  Featuring them on our site, pitching them through our song pitch service, gigging around town, creating a unique youtube video that can potentially go viral are all great opportunities for exposure.  At the end of the day, how your song gets out there is determined by which avenues you choose.  Working with radio promoters or contacting radio stations yourself is also a possible path, although making sure your material is ready and suitable for the target genre is also important.  All of this takes time and hard work, not to mention maintaining resilience to rejection.

12.  How do I find others to sing my songs?
You can look for singers through our members list, advertise in Craigslist or your regional arts newspaper (i.e. Now Magazine in Toronto), or frequent open mics to scope out suitable talent.

13.  I'm a lyricist/melody writer, how do I find a melody writer/lyricist to co-write with?

You can connect with other members based on the strengths they have listed via their facebook and/or myspace. You can also find great co-writing partners by going out to clubs / open mic nights and watch and listen. Your next co-writer may be the one who is performing at your local SongStage!

14.  I want to sell my song? What do I do?
You actually cannot sell your song, because once you’ve written it, you have protected ownership. That said, you can assign a portion of your publishing rights to a publisher who will then work on your behalf to find placements. 

There are several paths to getting placements for your song, you can use our own song pitching service (for members only).  You can submit through Sonicbids (a paid service which incurs a cost with every pitch in addition to a membership fee), Broadjam, and Amercian Songspace.  There are many other similar services out there, and the landscape is changing everyday, so we highly recommend searching out services yourself through google.  Once you have accumulated a reasonable amount of street credibility, you are more likely to find a publisher who is willing to work with you.

15.  I'm in a band, do all band members have to become S.A.C. members to register a song?
No, you can copyright your songs on their behalf.  However, only you will have access to the copyright file.  Of course, we think your entire band would benefit from membership through all the resources and networking opportunities we provide.

16.  I don't have a credit card/don't like to put my card online, how can I sign up for membership?

You can print a copy of the membership from by Clicking Here and mail in with a cheque payable to the Songwriters Association of Canada. Or feel free to call our office and we can either email or mail to you with a cheque payable to the Songwriters Association of Canada.

17.  How do I find a publisher/manager/booking agent?
As mentioned above, acquiring a significant amount of buzz or street credibility is helpful when finding any of the above.  Generally they find you.  
For more information about Publishing:

Here is a great article on publishing courtesy of ArtistHouseMusic.org provided by former VP Creative of Sony/ATV in New York.
Click Here.

Here’s a great video about looking for Management and Booking Agent:
Click Here.
All courtesy of ArtistHouseMusic.org

18.  I want to record a cover, what do I need to do?

Read more about it here:
Click Here.
For American rights Click Here.
Here is another good explanation - Click Here.

The Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA) is a non-profit music licensing agency, which represents the vast majority of music copyright owners (usually called music publishers) doing business in Canada.

On their behalf, CMRRA issues licenses to users of the reproduction right in copyrighted music. These licenses authorize the reproduction of music in CD's and cassettes (usually called " mechanical licensing") and in films, television programs and other audio-visual productions ("synchronization licensing"). Licensees pay royalties pursuant to these licenses to CMRRA and, in turn, CMRRA distributes the proceeds to its publisher clients. The publisher in turn distributes the songwriter's portion of such revenues to the songwriter involved.

20.  How do I find out if a song is in the public domain?
For information about Canadian public domain searches Click Here:
For information about American public domain, please Click Here:
Another source for copyright free material is Creative Commons - Click Here.

21.  Someone wants to record my song, what do I need to do?

It is unusual for artists to pay to record your songs. Having one of your song(s) "cut" by an artist means that you potentially will have performance royalties coming your way as well as proceeds of any sales of their album. It is important that they identify the songwriters name(s) on the album to ensure that all the songwriters get proper credit and get paid for the use of their work. Once the product (CD) makes it to market and, IF it gets airplay, or is used in film, tv, documentaries, radio, digital downloads, you can make money from to performance royalties through SOCAN.

Register your song with SOCAN, (www.socan.ca ) Canada's Performing Rights Organization, to collect any future Performance Royalties (Songwriting and Publishing).

You always have the opportunity to pitch your song(s) to artists and other projects to earn royalties and other license (or sync)  fees.

22.  Someone wants to use my recording on a website, tv show, etc what do I need to do?
If it’s a student project and you don’t want to charge money:  Draft an agreement (visit www.creativecommons.org for a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license for reference) that says you do not want to make money off your piece and terms can be renegotiated further down the line if this position changes (i.e. the movie becomes a big hit).

If it’s for a commercial project, you will want to negotiate sync fees, as well as.  

A good sample agreement can be found at the Guild of Canadian Film Composers Website:  www.gcfc.ca

23.  How do I get my songs on iTunes?

For general information Click Here.

Here are some recommended distributors:

CDBaby - http://www.cdbaby.com/  - for artists "back end" it's cdbaby.net

TuneCore - http://www.tunecore.com

SongCast - http://www.songcastmusic.com

 

Amie Street - http://amiestreet.com/

Independent Online Distribution Alliance - http://www.iodalliance.com/

Digital Media Distribution Services - http://www.dmds.com/dmds/dotnet/views/Authentication.aspx

Reverb Nation - http://www.reverbnation.com/distro

Nimbit - http://www.nimbit.com/sell?HomeMidSELL



24.  How do I get my CD into stores?
Here is a very good answer to your question courtesy of ArtistsHouseMusic.org. 
Click Here.