[chatbot] How To Copyright A Song

How To Copyright A Song

By: Barry Chase
: 3 Minutes to Read

Our NYC and Miami Entertainment Law Firm advises and represents clients in all legal matters related to music, sports, television/film, visual and literary works, modeling, online matters, and intellectual property.

How To Copyright A Song

While it’s true that from the moment you write and record a song that the music and lyrics are protected by copyright, it’s highly recommended to take further steps that ensure the work is fully protected by law. The following looks at the basics of the registration process and the steps to follow to copyright a song.

Copyrighting Basics

·      What rights does copyrighting bring?

·      Original work 

·      What you can’t copyright

What rights does copyrighting bring? 

Copyright brings a set of individual rights that apply from the moment you create a song in a tangible medium—for example, writing down lyrics/music or making an audio recording. This means that you have the exclusive rights to the piece of work as follows:

–       To make and distribute copies of the song

–       To prepare derivative works, including new arrangements

–       The right to perform the song

–       The right to display the song 

Original work

Copyright is applied to a song or piece of original work that’s been created by you. It can be a brand new piece of music or a new version/arrangement of one that already exists.

What you can’t copyright 

Chord progression and titles are not eligible for copyright. 

·      Make a recording

·      Copyright registration

·      How much does it cost to copyright a song? 

Make a recording 

The first stage of how to copyright a song is to record it in a “tangible medium”. This means committing it to paper or making an audio recording. This could be as simple as recording it on your cell phone.

While this brings about the legal protection of copyright, to benefit from further security—such as the right to sue someone for unauthorized use—you must now register the piece with the U.S. Copyright Office.

The registration process can be carried out by mail or online. You’ll need to register an account (easily done at www.copyright.gov) and then fill out the relevant copyright registration forms. You’ll be required to submit a copy of your song, the nature of which and the number of copies needed will be determined by aspects including whether the song is published or not.

Processing takes anything up to 10 months, with online applications tending to be a little quicker. 

Costs vary according to the method of registration (online or by mail) and start at $35 for the online registration of a single author’s work. 

·      Prima facie

Prima Facie 

While you have automatic copyright from the moment you record or make a copy of a song, registering with the U.S. Copyright Office evidences that you were the first to do so. The term “prima facie” is a legal one, meaning that if a challenge were to arise then the burden of proof falls to the other person or entity to prove that the work is not yours.

Take Advantage of an Expert Copyrighting Service

The act of copyrighting a song is easy enough in principle, but the process is not particularly user-friendly. Using the expertise and legal guidance of specialty entertainment lawyers, ChaseLawyers®, removes the complications and potential for error. In addition, they can discuss further details, such as the legal aspects of making and distributing copies, displaying or performing publicly, and the creation of derivative works. 

With offices in both New York and Miami, their expert team is well-situated to deal with copyright registration and all other legal requirements regarding your work. For more information about how to copyright a song and all aspects of entertainment law, visit ChaseLawyers®.

Barry Chase

Barry Chase, Esq., Senior Partner at ChaseLawyers®, is a distinguished figure in the realm of sports and entertainment law, offering Harvard-level representation that is both cost-sensitive and exceptional. An honors graduate of Yale College (Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Law School, Chase's illustrious career commenced at a prominent Washington, D.C. law firm, now known as Wilmer Hale. Here, he honed his expertise in Communications and First Amendment law, representing media titans such as CBS, the Times-Mirror Company, and Time, Inc. in pivotal Federal Communications Commission (FCC) matters.

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