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Thursday, August 28, 2008 

Review of ProveMyCopyright.com

By Monika Herzig

Madalyn's Note: I have enlisted a few writers from our GoGirlsMusic.com community to assist me from time to time with service and product reviews. Here is the first of many. Enjoy!

Copyrights and Copywrongs is the title of a very interesting book by Siva Vaidhyanathan published in 2001. Siva takes issue with the rise of copyright enforcement and how it threatens to strangle creativity. His argument is for a future of “thin” copyright that allows creators to receive an incentive of their work but also the consumers to take advantage of the rich knowledge pool for enrichment and development. While we do need some revisions of copyright law to adapt to the digital age, copyright is here to stay. The constitution includes a copyright clause, the foundation of all copyright legislation: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Such intentions are noble and many authors and inventors have greatly benefitted from the exclusive rights guaranteed to them and contributed to the progress of mankind. At the moment of creation of a new work of art, such as a song, a picture, an essay, or a film, the creator owns the copyright. That seems simple enough, but what happens if someone uses the work of art without acknowledging the creator and getting necessary licenses? Well, usually there’ll be a friendly reminder about doing just that and if the infringer doesn’t comply, litigation becomes necessary. The court will evaluate the resemblance of the infringer’s product to the original, possible access of the infringer to the product in question, and compare dates of creation. If all factors are in favor of the litigating creator, the court will demand to see the official copyright registration certificate of the work. Well, it would be a shame and a difficult process if after all these legal costs and transactions that certificate couldn’t be produced in order to get final judgment and due reward.

Provemycopyright.com is a website administered in Sweden and set up as an alternative to the costly and lengthy process of copyright registration with the US copyright office. The process is simple. The user buys an account for $99 per year with one gigabyte of space and loads up any creations – music files, photographs, essays, etc. Every time a file is uploaded, an automatic watermarking system is activated and the user will receive a certificate with a time registration. Such a certificate can be most useful in proving the time of creation for copyright disputes. Considering that each registration with the copyright office costs $45 for paper registration and $35 for online registration, the process can become very costly for artists with large output. Provemycopyright.com seems like an efficient and money saving alternative. For example, a photographer might get inspired and fill up the memory of her digital camera with hundreds of photos. Many of them seem worth keeping and show potential for further use. A quick upload to provemycopyright.com doesn’t cost a penny besides the initial $99 account fee, but a registration with the US Copyright would get very costly and take 3 – 4 months. Remember it’s $45 per registration and a form needs to be filled out every time. For similar scenarios involving large numbers of art pieces, provemycopyright.com seems an ideal solution for quick registration and storage.

Provemycopyright.com is a useful tool to store pieces, get time stamps, keep track of creation dates, and provide a legal basis for protection. Especially for artists with large output this can be a great tool to document their output. Such time certificates will also support a dispute with infringers and can help settle cases without costly litigation. But please do register your most valuable work with the US Copyright office in addition as the certificate will be essential proof in case of actual litigation in court.

Copyright © 2008 Monika Herzig, http://www.monikaherzig.com/

Monika Herzig is a jazz pianist/ recording artist for Owl Studios and a full-time member of the Arts Administration Faculty at Indiana University. She has performed at many prestigious jazz clubs and festivals, such as the Indy Jazz Fest, Cleveland’s Nighttown, Louisville’s Jazz Factory, the W.C.Handy Festival, Jazz in July in Bloomington and Cincinnati, Columbus’ Jazz & Rib Fest, to name just a few. Groups under her leadership have toured Germany and Italy, opened for acts such as Tower of Power, Sting, the Dixie Dregs, Yes, and more. More info is available at http://www.blogger.com/www.monikaherzig.com. Her most recent releases are available at owlstudios.com. Thomas Garner from Garageradio.com writes about "What Have You Gone and Done?, her most recent release: "I was totally awed by the fine musicianship throughout".

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Hi Madalyn and Monika,

Thanks for the review, I would also just like to let your readers be the first to know that ProveMyCopyright is upgrading all it's accounts, for both existing and new customers, from 1Gb of space to an amazing 5Gb!!!

So from September 1st 2008, you'll now be able to upload and register your claim of copyright to 1000's of songs or photographs in the same low cost account.

All the best,
Douglas Baxter.

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    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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