How to copyright your music?
Protecting your music is just as important as making it. You see, without copyright you will not be able to retain the rights to your song. So people will be able to use it or even say that it’s theirs. Which is why it’s a very good idea to copyright your music as soon as you make it.
Music law basics
You can choose to copyright music, lyrics or both of them. Of course, your song needs to be original. One thing to keep in mind is that you can’t copyright a chord progression or a song title. When you copyright songs you can distribute the song anywhere you want, prepare some derivative works, perform the song or authorize others to play it if you want.
What is the copyright process for songs?
The first thing you want to do is to have a tangible version of the song. You can’t copyright a song idea. The song needs to be recorded in some way, be it taped or digitally. You can’t copyright a song if you’re just humming for example.
Create an account at the US Copyright Office website. Registering electronically is faster, although you do need to send a copy of your work. Please note that in Australia copyright is free and automatic meaning you do not need to apply for or do anything to have copyright of your work.
File the copyright registration application. It’s important to study the instructions before filing it. In case you need to file via mail, you must use the form PA for that.
Paying the registration fee is mandatory if you want to copyright your music. That being said, there are multiple options based on how you choose to register, how fast you want to register and so on. Every minor detail is important when you register your music.
Now you have to send a copy of your song. Sending the song as an audio recording is a very good idea, see if you can upload it digitally or send it via email. Also, you might have to mail copies of your song in a paper format if you want to copyright lyrics.
Once you did all of the above, all you have to do is wait. It will take a few months to process the copyright, so it does require a bit of time for you to gain the music copyright. That’s why you need to do it early in the process, because you can’t launch your music without having it copyrighted first.
The music copyright process might seem confusing at first, but it’s actually very simple once you get the hang of it. This offers some amazing benefits and the clear one is that you get to work closely with amazing professionals. It’s certainly something that’s crucial for your music career, so try to copyright all your music. Whether you choose to copyright solely your lyrics or the entire musical piece, that’s up to you. But the ideal thing is to copyright your entire work, just to be safe. It will also give you more control over where the music is played, who plays it and when!
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