What Is Copyright?

copyright

A Copyright is the exclusive right, granted by law for a stated period, usually until 70 years after the death of the surviving author of the work, to make, dispose of, and otherwise control copies of literary, musical, dramatic, pictorial and other copyrightable works. The exclusive right is set forth in the 1976 Copyright Act Section 106.

Now, the law says that Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy, and that your music actually has a legitimate copyright as soon as you can get your song or music  “fixed” into a tangible format of expression.  This just means that you either need to get your song recorded into some type of recorder, or get it written down or logged into some type of records file.  But to truly protect yourself, along with some very great advantages and benefits that are backed by the US Government, it’s best to register your music with the Copyright Office.

By registering your music with the Copyright Office, you will not only have a better record of proof that you are the owner of the music, but you will also get certain rights when it comes to lawsuits, and benefits for you if you must make a claim for copyright infringement… just incase someone uses your music without your permission or the right to do so.

If you are serious about your music (and I assume you are), it would be wise to register your original songs with the U.S. Copyright Office. This will protect you in the event that someone, somewhere, steals one of your songs and claims it as their own. Whether you want to copyright just one song for possible digital distribution or an entire CD of collected works, the process is the same. 

The U.S. Copyright Office encourages you to register your music via an online registration process called the eCO Online System. Once you go there, create an account for yourself, then log in and you’re ready to start. Registering a copyright via this process is not all that difficult, but the technical language can be confusing. The online process does walk you step-by-step through filling out the document, but even so, take your time. Carefully read the help links (the underlined text) provided each step of the way. If you do that, it will help you understand what information goes where.
  
You’ll find a copyright tutorial for the eCO system at http://www.copyright.gov/eco/eco-tutorial.pdf . It’s recommended that you take a look at that before you undertake this process to see what you’re in for.
The filing fee for online song registration is $35.
 
Don’t want the hassle? We can help you get registered and do all of the work for you… 
 
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A few tips regarding the eCO process that we think might help you:

 

  • You’ll want to register your music as a “sound recording” as this kind of registration includes not only the performance, but the underlying music itself.
    uscopyrightoffice 

  • Under “Title of Work” add the name of your CD first and set the “Type” as “Title of work being registered.” Then list your song titles and set the “Type” for those as “Contents Title.” So the album name is the “Title,” the individual songs are the “Contents.”
     

  • If you have cover songs on your album, you’ll exclude those under the “Limitation of Claim” section. For example, if track 7 on your CD is a cover tune, under “Material Excluded” check the boxes for “Music” and “Lyrics” (if you have lyrics) and then in the space for “Other” indicate “Track 7.” Then under “New Material Included” check all the boxes and under “Other” list the track numbers for your original songs. So here you specify what tracks to exclude for copyright registration (because they belong to someone else) and which tracks to register under your own name. If all the songs on your album are original, you can skip this section entirely.

Once you have filled out the form and verified all your information, add it to your cart, pay for it, and then you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to print out your registration and mail it in with copies of your CD. You can also upload the files digitally, if you prefer.

  

  

 

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