If you're a musician, you know that you invest a lot of time, effort, and passion into every piece. There's a good chance, after all that work, that you would like to protect your projects.
Filing a music copyright will help with this goal. If you copyright your music, you're essentially protecting your government-given rights surrounding your intellectual property (your music). After you file a copyright, others will not be able to use your work without your permission — a central priority if you're invested in growing your music career.
Protecting Your Pieces:
What is a Music Copyright?
There are two different types of musical copyright: Composition copyright, which protects the original piece, and sound recording copyright, which protects recordings of that piece. If you record a song, you hold the sole composition copyright as well as a sound recording copyright for every version of the song you create.
Whenever anyone wants to cover your song, they will need to get your permission to use your composition copyright to create their own sound recording. If someone steals your work, a music copyright will help you act fast to protect what is yours.
What Does My Music Copyright Do?
The specific rights your music copyright protects will vary from country to country. These rights may include:
Reproduction and copying
- Selling and distribution
- Performing and broadcasting
If anyone else wants to do these things with your music, they'll need to obtain your permission.
Holding a copyright for your music streamlines your payment processes as well. With a copyright in place, you can sell your music to distribution labels and permit others to use it for a fee.
How Do I Copyright My Music?
The method in some countries — such as the United States and Canada — is simple. Once you have written and completed a piece of music and fixed it in some tangible, provable way (for example, as a saved file on a hard drive), you have a technical copyright.
However, it's likely a good idea to make it official. A filed copyright registration will offer you maximum protection for your work.
Here's a brief overview of the copyright process:
Go to the US copyright website.
- Fill out the form to submit a claim. This may require titles, contact information, and the publication status of your work.
- There is a nominal fee for registering a copyright.
- Upload copies of your work and any other supplemental materials.
- Save your confirmation. You'll get a digital confirmation immediately, and a hard-copy shortly.
Copyrighting your music is an investment in your music career—and your peace of mind. If someone unjustly borrows your intellectual property, you'll have a system in place to take any necessary legal action. You can even outsource this type of counsel to be proactive about potential issues.