Music Business: How to Copyright Your Music, Songs

Music Business: How to Copyright Your Music, Songs

There are two ways to copyright your music with the Library of Congress and that’s either by snail mail (USPS) or electronically (online) through the Electronic Copyright Office (eCO).

M-Town Studio will give you 10 steps on how to copyright your music/audio recordings both via online and information on how to register your music by snail mail via copyright.gov.

Times It Takes To Copyright

Average Processing Time for e-Filing (online): 3 months (varies) with a cost of $35

Average Processing Time for Form CO and Paper Forms: 10 months (varies) with a cost of $65

Electronic Copyright E-File
1.) Go to copyright.gov and click the image that has the “e” on it with the words Electronic Copyright Office.

2.) After clicking the image, you will go to a screen giving you information on the Copyright Office online system rates and recommended readings. Once you have reviewed the information, click “Login to eCO: Electronic Copyright Office”

3.) Read the Security and Privacy: Copyright Public Records information and click “Continue to eCO.”

4.) If you already have an account with the Library of Congress type in your username and password. Otherwise click “New User.”

5.) On the left side menu, look for Copyright Registration. Under the heading “Copyright Registration” you will see “Register A New Claim.”

Note: On this window you can also keep up with your applications and the status.

6.) On the next screen you will be presented with the (3) steps in which the online registration will take place.  Step 1.  Complete an application,  Step 2. Make payment and Step 3. Submit your work.
To start the registration process you must click the green “Start Registration”.

7.) Next, select the type of work you are submitting from the dropdown menu. Once you select they type of work you are submitting, it cannot be changed.

Note: Use “Form PA” if you’re only interested in registering the song work and not the actual recording. Use “Form SR” if you wish to register both the sound recording and the recorded musical, dramatic, or literary work(s), along with the sound recording of the work(s). “Form SR” can also be used to register a particular recorded performance.

If you are the copyright claimant (ex: producer) of both the song composition and the sound recording, you can use one form, “Form SR.”

8.) You will be asked a series of questions, which will include information about yourself and where the copyright certification should be sent.

9.) Next, make the payment of $35 to the Library Congress via credit card, debit card, electronic check, or through your copyright office deposit account.

10.) Finally, upload your work(s) which you would like to be copyrighted. The file type must be in either of the following formats:

.aif, .aiff (Audio Interchange File Format)
.au (Audio File)
.mid, .midi, .rmi (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
.mp3 (MP3 Audio File or Layer 3 Audio Compression)
.ra, .ram (Real Audio File)***
.rmi (Resource Interchangable File Format)
.wav (Windows Wave Sound File)
.wma (Windows Media Audio File)

If you don’t have your audio in one of the available formats, you also have the option of mailing in your work(s) on CD in jewel case, which must be shipped in a box.

Snail Mail

To copyright your work(s) by postal mail, you must download the form that you wish to file. If you’re unable to download the file online, you may request forms at http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formrequest.html

Literary  –  Form TX

Visual Arts  – Form VA

Performing Arts – Form PA

Sound Recordings – Form SR

Single Serials –  Form SE

The fee to file by postal mail is $65 and must be paid by check or money order.

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