While it’s true that from the moment you write and record a song that the music and lyrics are protected by copyright, it’s highly recommended to take further steps that ensure the work is fully protected by law. The following looks at the basics of the registration process and the steps to follow to copyright a song.
· What rights does copyrighting bring?
· Original work
· What you can’t copyright
What rights does copyrighting bring?
Copyright brings a set of individual rights that apply from the moment you create a song in a tangible medium—for example, writing down lyrics/music or making an audio recording. This means that you have the exclusive rights to the piece of work as follows:
– To make and distribute copies of the song
– To prepare derivative works, including new arrangements
– The right to perform the song
– The right to display the song
Copyright is applied to a song or piece of original work that’s been created by you. It can be a brand new piece of music or a new version/arrangement of one that already exists.
What you can’t copyright
Chord progression and titles are not eligible for copyright.
How to Copyright a Song: The process
· Make a recording
· Copyright registration
· How much does it cost to copyright a song?
Make a recording
The first stage of how to copyright a song is to record it in a “tangible medium”. This means committing it to paper or making an audio recording. This could be as simple as recording it on your cell phone.
While this brings about the legal protection of copyright, to benefit from further security—such as the right to sue someone for unauthorized use—you must now register the piece with the U.S. Copyright Office.
The registration process can be carried out by mail or online. You’ll need to register an account (easily done at www.copyright.gov) and then fill out the relevant copyright registration forms. You’ll be required to submit a copy of your song, the nature of which and the number of copies needed will be determined by aspects