How Do I Copyright My Song?
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
If you’re a music producer or musician, you know how important it is to protect the rights to your music. After all, if you don’t copyright your song, someone may steal your hard work! Of course, as a musician, copyright law might not be your forte. We’ll do our best below to help you better understand how to copyright your music and protect your artistic property from opportunistic thieves.
What Are Copyright Laws for Music?
Copyright laws are often confusing – they vary depending on the type of product you’re trying to copyright. With music, copyright traditionally arises legally when your record a song. The only condition is that the song is original – if you copy someone else’s work, you can’t copyright it.
Copyright law can protect the underlying composition of any song you produce as well as the actual recording of the song (or, the master track). Keep in mind sometimes these two copyrights will be owned by two different entities– this is typically the case if you have a music deal with a label.
Copyrighting a Song Online
If you want to take precautionary measures and submit a formal copyright request for a song, you can start the process by applying through the appropriate national representative body. In Canada, go to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website. In the U.S. go to the U.S. Copyright website.
in either case, you’ll first need to create an account. Next, you should register the song you’re trying to copyright and submit a copy. You’ll then need to pay a fee and wait for confirmation of your registration.
How Much Is It to Copyright a Song?
Copyrighting a song is much cheaper than you might think – this is especially true because you don’t need to use a lawyer to copyright your music. Typically, the fee for copyrighting a single song is $50 CAD in Canada, or $35 USD in the States if you register it online.
How Long Does It Take to Copyright a Song?
The amount of time it takes to copyright a song will depend on the avenue you use to copyright it. If you use the online platform, the average wait time is around three months after initial registration.
If you decide to use a paper application, the process may end up taking ten months. We suggest that you use online copyright registration as it is much easier and ensures you receive your copyright registration much sooner.
Can You Copyright a Song by Emailing It to Yourself?
Many people suggest that emailing or mailing something to yourself automatically ensures a copyright is assigned to your musical composition. The idea is that this will document a date attached to your property and ensure no one can claim ownership at a later time.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Current copyright law dictates that your musical property automatically receives copyright when it’s created – you don’t need to send it to yourself. You should still register it with the U.S. Copyright Office to ensure you benefit from certain protections though.
If you want to seek damages for someone using your copyrighted material, it’s essential that you follow the registration procedure mentioned in this article.
We hope this guide to copyrighting your music has answered all your questions and helped you protect your music for years to come!