How to Go About Copyrighting Your Original Music
In today’s digital age it has never been more important to protect your music with a copyright so that it doesn’t fall into the wrongs hands or get exploited. The last thing you want is to put your music online, only for someone to download the music and claim that they were the original creator. A copyright is essentially a legal guarantee that protects the creator of any original piece of music, artwork or literary work. Lets say you find that someone has taken your song or piece of music and put it in a commercial or film without compensating you. You would be pretty miffed, right? If your music is copyrighted, you can send them a letter or emailing asking them to compensate you and if they can’t to please not use your music. If you want to place that little C with a circle around it next to your song, here are some ways you can go about copyrighting your original music.
First off, you want to save your music in as many formats as you can to prepare sending it to the US Government’s copyright office. You can make a CD, an mp3 or mp4 or you can even send a copy of the original music notes. The key is to have tangible evidence of your original piece of music with proof that you created it.
Then you need to go to the US Government’s digital copyright office online and register your piece of music. This process can take up to 4 months, after you sign up. All you have to do is set up a free account with all of your pertinent information, like name, age, telephone number and home address. Then it will prompt you to upload your music and to pay a filing fee, which is usually around $35. If you don’t want to sign up digitally, you can also send your music by mail.
This is where having your CD or original copy of sheet music will come in handy. If you do ship by mail, be prepared for the process to take a little over a year. This process is also far more expensive at about 40$ to $60 depending on what forms you fill out. If you are set on sending in your copyright claim via snail mail, make sure that all the forms are filled out correctly and then send off your package to the address provided.
At the end of the day, if you follow music news, more and more artists are being taken advantage of. Either they are not being fairly compensated for their work or a new generation of Internet savvy kids will find a way to download your music for free. If your original music is not protected, you can be at risk of losing your integrity and a livelihood if you are not careful. Waiting 4 to 15 months and paying a filing fee will not only secure your artistic integrity, but it will also be a warning to potential pirates that your music is not available to them unless they can compensate for it.