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Copyright Ethics Question

I have a little song I wrote years ago that I want to share with another ChoralNet community.  I have used it in my classes for a long time but never recorded it.  There is no print record of it even at my house though there once was.  If I publish it now, can I use 2013 as the copyright date or do I really have to put 1913?
 
I could use more than just a legal answer so tell me what you think.
on October 4, 2013 11:06am
You can use the current date, but if you use the date when it was actually created, you are covered for all those years....
 
on October 4, 2013 11:44am
I realize that you put 1913 as a joke, but if it were published in 1913, it would now be public domain.  Anything published in the U.S. before 1923 is now public domain.
 
Since you aren't Methuselah, the copyright for anything that you originally created will not be affected by the date you created it.  The duration of the copyright is affected by the date of your death...
 
So the whole point of a post-1923 date on a copyright notice is simply to say, "this was created after 1923."  It doesn't matter whether you put 1993 or 2013, but it does matter if you put 1913. It sounds like at the very least you are creating a "new edition" so that there is nothing wrong with you putting 2013.  You could put both dates ("Copyright 1993, 2013") but really really really I wouldn't worry about this. 
on October 9, 2013 8:59am
I don't understand why you present this as an "ethics" question when it's almost entirely a legal one. It's against the law to falsely represent the publication date of your compositions in your copyright notice; it's not something you can just choose arbitrarily.That said, I don't really know whether your use in class in the past constituted "publication" -- you might need an attorney to sort that out. If you printed copies and passed them out in class that's probably "publication."
 
But there are other problems with claiming the later date. For example, it could give someone grounds to challenge your copyright in court, if they had a copy they could prove existed before 2013. They could get your copyright invalidated, or even claim it for themselves. The copyright notice isn't even required, by the way.
 
P.S. "Publication is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. " Sounds like classroom use doesn't really count, but I'd err on the side of caution.
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