Copyrighting Music 101

What is a copyright?

“ A Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted by the law of a jurisdiction to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Exceptions and limitations to these rights strive to balance the public interest in the wide distribution of the material produced and to encourage creativity. Exceptions include fair dealing and fair use, and such use does not require the permission of the copyright owner. All other uses require permission and copyright owners can license or permanently transfer or assign their exclusive rights to others.”


How Do I Get A Copyright for My Music?
There are two solid ways to get this achieved:
Go to and fill out a copyright form. Its $35 application and processing fee when you do it online.

Print and Mail:
Form CO at Fill out the PDF file following the instructions and then print TWO copies. One copy for you and one copy to mail to the Library of Congress to the address provided.

The cost to submit the by mail is $50.00.

Why Copyright My Music?
To protect you legally if somebody, somewhere, steals one of your songs and claims it as their own, you will have proof of legally binding ownership. You can copyright just one song for possible digital distribution or an entire CD of collected works. The procedure is the same.

What are the benefits of Copyright Registration?

* The right to distribute your music
* The right to prepare new arrangements.
* The right to perform the songs publicly
* The right to make copies and duplicate your CD

Is a poor man’s copyright the same as of copyrighting with through the methods above?
A poor mans copyright is whereby you mail yourself a copy of your work and don’t open the envelope unless a legal issue arises and you have proof based on the dates on the envelope etc and what ever else proof you can provide. This is a practice used a lot, however from research it appears it doesn’t hold much ground in a court of law, so getting an actual copyright would be in your best interests as an artist. Or if you do the poor ma’s version, you should eventually get full copyrights.

If you find this article helpful please feel free to share the article by hitting the share link button to republish it. This document contains a basic summary of copyright information and is not to be considered as a legal document of copyright laws or as a guide or tutorial. It is just an informational summary.

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