Copyrighting Your Music


sadcharlie

Warning: the world “copywrite” is used roughly10 million times in this blog. It might get old after a while.

Why Should You Copyright Your Music?
The #1 reason people copyright music is to protect their songs from being stolen.  Whether you’re concerned about this or not, its just one of those things you’re supposed to do.  If your music has the potential to reach hundreds or thousands of people (even if you never become famous) you should be copyrighting those songs…b/c people are shady!  If stealing and plagarism weren’t an issue, we wouldn’t  hear about media ownership lawsuits when we turn on the news. But we do.

Copyright Your Whole Project at One Time
Because you’re a musician, you’re probably broke. For this reason, consider waiting until your whole CD is recorded, printed and packaged before copyrighting.  Its so much cheaper…b/c instead of submitting songs individual (roughly $35 each),  you can submit a CD with several songs and the submission fee with still just be $35.  Whether you’re submitting a song or a CD with several songs, each submission is considered 1 project.  So obviously, you get your money’s worth when you copyright 10+ songs, their lyrics, the artwork, and the recording all in one $35 hit. Yea, this paragraph is pretty redundant, but hopefully you get the point now 🙂
p.s. Fees increase on August 1, 2009 so hurry up and do it now if you’ve been putting it off!

So How Exactly Do You Copyright Your Project?
The Library of Congress is your one-stop-shop for copywriting.  Visit www.copyright.gov.  They offer a wealth of resources on their homepage, including FAQs, current copyrighting fees, and comical video shorts about why copyrighting doesn’t have to be so confusing.


Why Does Copyrighting Always Seems Like Such a Hassle?
Keep in mind that the Library of Congress receives thousands (maybe even millions) of submissions every year.  They recieve copyright requests for music, art, books…everything!  For this reason, there’s alot of reading and many instructions to follow when copyrighting your project. Just be meticulous and follow the rules.  Also opt for online filing.  Its easier and cheaper. But you will ultimately need to mail in a hard copy of your CD so they can keep it on file.

Copyrighting was a personal hassle for me  when it came to filling out details for each song (i.e. who wrote it, who recorded, names of musicians who played on each song, who actually owns the song, who actually owns the recording of the song.).  If I remember correctly, they asked for this information. I also think you are able to skip these data fields if you don’t wish to answer.  It’s been over a year since I’ve filed, so I’ll appreciate it if someone can post a comment and confirm if this is true.

Lastly, here’s a great article by Indie4Life.com titled The not-so-secret world of copyrighting your music.

 

If you have tips/advice about Copyrighting and or want to offer additional information, please post a comment.  Copyrighting always seems to confuse musicians.
And thanks to Pittsburgh group C.Joy for inquiring about copyrighting. It’s the reason why this specific post exists.  Don’t forget to send in your questions. They’ll probably get answered.

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One Comment on “Copyrighting Your Music”

  1. Ophelia Street Says:

    Your music is automatically copyrighted once you write it and have it in some tangible form (written or recorded). What registering a copyright does is provide legal record of it. That pretty much ensures a lawyer will take your case if an issue arises, and you’ll be able to sue and collect statutory damages.


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