Interesting copyright footnote:
*No formal registration is actually required to protect copyright under UK law.*
Songwriters should note if they aren't already aware , that under UK law both musical works and literary works are in fact automatically protected from the moment they are committed to some material form (i.e. recorded to tape - stored as a midi file - or simply written down in any way.) It is a little known fact that no official registration is actually necessary to secure copyright in the work. Again: Notification of a title for a Society's works registration purposes, does not of itself create copyright in the notified work or works.
The downside of this, is that in the unlikely event of a dispute over authorship or the work's originality, there is no established precident to prove that one work was in existence prior to another. Several ad-hoc methods however exist to prove that a work had been created by a given date,
a) Deposit a copy of the work with a solicitor or bank manager and obtain a dated receipt. Expect a charge, albeit nominal, for the service.
b) The cheapest and simplest option. Send a copy of the work (cassette, DAT, floppy whatever) to yourself (or your Mum if you think she's less likely to lose it - telling her by phone not to open it!) by registered post, and as mentioned leave the envelope unopened upon receipt.
c) Or register the works at Stationers' Hall. The fee for the registration of a group of works, e.g. an embryonic album (or single work!) was/is I believe somewhere just under £50 inc. VAT. A cautionary note. This fee provides registration for only seven years. Re-registration for another seven years can be obtained by payment of a further fee.
Ave Maria Lane,
London, EC4M 7DD.
Tel: 0171- 248 2934
. . . If however your work hasn't been exploited in any way whatsoever by anyone after seven years, the temptation not to bother re-registering would I imagine not be unreasonable. Last but not least - if you don't write it you can't copyright protect it so stop reading this and go create your masterpiece.
Further information on copyright can be found here
© David Knopfler 1997
Another fine knopfler.com web page