Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

How to copyright your music

Copyrights, I know, it sounds scary and complicated but it’s really a very simple process that protects the most valuable asset to a band- your songs! Did you know that your songs are technically copyrighted as soon as you’re done writing the music down, or recording them?

However, there is a difference between having a copyright and registering a copyright, which is where the government and paperwork come in. Copyrights were created to protect songwriters, so there’s no reason for you not to do it. The only way to ensure that your songs are protected are to register the songs so they are on file as already being written by you(so no one can steal your songs and claim that they wrote them first!).

There is one simple application to fill out, which covers the copyrights of a WHOLE CD, not just individual songs, which is pretty convenient! Before you begin, you might want to read more about the steps to register your recording of music.

Because you’re copyrighting music and lyrics, you’re going to need to fill out the Sound Record form which is Form SR. If you need help with any part of the form, or you’d like to get walked through it step by step you’ll want the Form SR with instructions.

Once you’ve filled out every space, and your form is printed and complete, enclose it with the following: a recording of all of the tracks you listed on the form (if the songs are published already, enclose 2 copies); sheet music and lyrics if you have it (not mandatory); and a non-refundable check or money order for $45 payable to Register of Copyrights. The $45 is the fee per CD to file your application with the Copyright Office.

Put all of that in a package addressed to:

Library of Congress
Copyright Office
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20559-6000

Your registration becomes effective on the day that the Copyright Office receives your application, payment, and copy(ies) in acceptable form. If your submission is in order, you will receive a certificate of registration in approximately 4 months.