Currently I am apart of a campus wide study to understand what people look for in 'good lyrics'. Its apart of a bigger project to understand the power of music. At the end of this venture we will take our findings create a newsletter showcasing our findings and a top ten lyrics list. In doing so, the question was raised would we be breaking any intellectual property laws by reproducing lyrics, in print, and distributing them to the campus even though the artist will be fully cited? In my attempt to research this question I came across this post on the 10 Myths about Copyright explained (actually there are 11).
1) "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not copyrighted."
This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. The default you should assume for other people's works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless you know for sure.
It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures, too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them to the net, and if you come upon something unknown, you shouldn't post that either.
The correct form for a notice is:
"Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]"
You can use C in a circle © instead of "Copyright" but "(C)" has never been given legal force. The phrase "All Rights Reserved" used to be required in some nations but is now not legally needed most places. In some countries it may help preserve some of the "moral rights."
2) "If I don't charge for it, it's not a violation."
False. Whether you charge can affect the damages awarded in court, but that's main difference under the law. It's still a violation if you give it away — and there can still be serious damages if you hurt the commercial value of the property. There is an exception for personal copying of music, which is not a violation, though courts seem to have said that doesn't include widescale anonymous personal copying as Napster. If the work has no commercial value, the violation is mostly technical and is unlikely to result in legal action. Fair use determinations (see below) do sometimes depend on the involvement of money.