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How To Copyright Music, Beats, and Songs



The most important step to protect your music, beats and intellectual property rights, will be making sure that you have registered your music with the Copyright Office




The Copyright section of Music Powers has been put together to give you a basic understanding, along with the steps you should take to protect your music creations.  Not having suitable registered proof that you are the owner of your creation may cause you to lose certain rights that come with registering your works with the Copyright Office.  Copyright Office Registration, and getting the rights that come with it is not to be done with the “poor-man’s copyright; mailing a copy back to yourself, or any other nonsense, if you plan on having the backing of the US Congress set of laws and regulations regarding infringement and legislative pay support for music you own the rights to for licensing, etc.  So read this segment of Music Powers, and follow the simple steps to protect yourself.  Also, I have decided to provide a little bit of information for those of you who may be interested in knowing when to use certain Copyright Forms.

By Definition, What is A 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.


How to register your song or beats

To register your song with the Copyright office, do the following:



1.  Send a request for a form SR or PA application to the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, S E., Washington, D.C. 20559-6000 or download the application from the website:


Note: To order an application by telephone, call (202) 707-9100.


2.  When the application is completed (properly), send it back to the Copyright Office with:


(a) If unpublished - One copy of manuscript, lead sheet OR sound recording of the best edition…or


(b) If published - Two copies of manuscript (sheet music) OR a sound recording of the best edition…and


(c) The appropriate non-refundable registration fee, which is presently $45, by money order, bank draft or check, made payable to Register of Copyrights. (see current fees)



 Now, the wait time for application processing, and getting you your certificate back in the mail is kind of long (about 5 to 6 months), but your song is actually registered as soon as the Copyright Office gets your package (if everything is correct in the package; the application, and the fee).


New! Registration with Electronic Copyright Office (eCO)

The Copyright Office has now put in a new program that allows you to complete the copyright application online.

There are also a few advantages to this new process; a lower filing fee of $35 for a basic claim, a faster processing time, online tracking, ability to upload, and payments can be made using a credit card or debit card. For more visit the US Copyright office on the web.

Form PA, Form SR - SO, WHICH ONE?


FORM PA:  For published and unpublished works of the performing arts (musical works and dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, motion pictures and other audiovisual works), use Form PA (Performing Arts).  Musical compositions that are recorded on disc or cassettes are works of the performing arts, and should be registered with Form PA.



For Example:  Let’s say a writer, “Big-Producer-Mayne” writes a song (words and music) called "Bounce it Baby Girl.”  Although he may have recorded it, if he is only interested in registering the song work (the underlying or musical composition), but not the actual recording, Form PA should be used.




FORM SR:  For published or unpublished sound recordings, use form SR (Sound Recordings).  But please sticky this:  Registration for a sound recording alone is NOT the same as registration for musical, dramatic, or a literary work that has been recorded.  Form SR is used for registration of the particular sounds or a particular recorded performance.





Form SR should also be used if you wish to make one registration for both the sound recording and the original work (musical composition).  You may make a single registration using form SR only if the copyright claimant is the same for both the sound recording and the musical composition. 


          The bottom line is that Copyrights in sound recordings are to be registered on Copyright Form SR.


For Example: Let’s say an artist, “The Regional Buzz” performs and then records "Bounce it Baby Girl” which was written by “Big-Producer-Mayne.”  After the artist “Regional Buzz” gets permission, clearance, and a license from “Big-Producer-Mayne,” if “Regional Buzz” wants to submit the recording for copyright registration, Form SR should be used.




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