To protect your music from being misused or plagiarized, you need to copyright your music. This is essential or you may find your music being ripped off. If the copyrighted material is plagiarized then you can take action and claim damages but unless the music is copyrighted, you may be left high and dry, wringing your hands in frustration. Copyrighting comes with a fee as most things do, however it gives you peace of mind regarding your creative effort.
What is Copyrighting?
When you write or compose something original and lay claims to it, it automatically becomes your own. Laying claims need to be made through a statutory body recognized by law. In this way you can be assured that your original creation will not be misused. Some people simply send a copy of the CD to themselves in their mail to prove the date and time. This is poor man's copyright and does not carry too much weight nor is it enough to claim a penalty. A copyright needs to be approved by the government to make it legal. The official process to copyright your music involves going through the government process of obtaining a copyright from the US Copyright Office. The process is simple and reliable.
Requirements for Copyrighting Your Music
A copy of the songs to be copyrighted A copyright form An envelope for mailing them $45
Tips Regarding the Official Copyright Form
1. If you are going to copyright your music, sound as well as music, then you need Form SR for Sound Recording to copyright both as copyrighting the sound alone will not take care of your composition. This is absolutely required if your band has recorded an album. 2. The Performing Arts copyright lets you copyright the song too. If you submit a recording to be copyrighted then only your song will be copyrighted and not the sound recording. If you are a songwriter and are not worried about the recording the Form PA should be good enough for you. 3. There is a CON or a Continuation Form along with the SR or PA form which can be used as continuation forms when you copyright your music.
Register your copyrighted music
Copyright your music by registering it. First fill in the appropriate forms SR, PA or CON. Write out a check for $45 and make it out to "Register of Copyrights". Make a good copy of the music that you need copyrighted. This copy will be retained and will not be returned to you. Next put everything (CD, forms and check) in an envelope and mail it to:
Library of Congress Copyright Office 101 Independence Avenue, SE Washington DC 20559-6000
Copyright your music and have peace of mind regarding your composition. This is absolutely necessary if you wish to prevent plagiarism. Copyright your music and make it legally yours. The process is simple does not cost the earth, when compared to the risks involved if you do not copyright your original creation. A lot of effort and time has gone in to creating your music so protect it by copyrighting it.
Brad Barnett knows what you need to do to successfully promote your band and music on and offline. He has been a part of the music scene for 10+ years playing, recording, and distributing his music. He offers you free tips and resources to promote your band.
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