Dont Wait To Register
When your content is stolen or misused, your first thought may be to take legal action. The first question you may be asked is, Did you register with the Copyright Office?
According to updated regulations, you must register with the U.S. Copyright Office and receive an official registration before you can file a lawsuit and that can normally take months. That means, you may be at a loss until you actually register. Other types of registrations or mailing your music to yourself are not substitutes for USCO registration these will not grant you the same benefits.
Early registration can grant you a large payout up to $150,000 per infringement PLUS your legal fees, but only if you register before your music is stolen or misused.
There Are No Barriers To Your Career
TuneCore can send your music to over 100+ countries worldwide. Wherever your fans are around the world, theyll be able to listen to you.
Keep 100% of Your Sales
TuneCore artists always keep 100% of the profits they earn from sales, downloads, and streaming revenue.
Tons of Different Stores
We can send your music to over 150 different online digital stores and streaming services. There are no barriers to who can discover your music.
From vinyl pressing to social media support, we offer a wide range of services to help you before and after you distribute.
Updating Your Contact Information And Current Publisher
If something changes, such as your mailing address, phone number, or email address, its important that you update your collection society right away. The same goes for if you recently switched publishers. Forgetting to remove old publishers can cause your society to continue paying them long after theyve lost the right to collect on royalties generated for your work.
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Why Would I Want To Register My Copyright
When your content is stolen or misused, your first thought may be to take legal action. The first question you may be asked is, Did you register with the Copyright Office? Thats because when you register, you have the ultimate leverage.
According to updated regulations, you must register with the U.S. Copyright Office before you can file a lawsuit. Other types of registrations or mailing your music to yourself are not substitutes for USCO registration. Early registration can grant you a large payout up to $150,000 per infringement PLUS your legal fees, but only if you register before your music is stolen or misused.
Receive up to $200-$30,000
per work .
Registering with the U.S. Copyright Office is one of the most important actions you can take and its something that you should want to do shortly after or before your music is released.
A registered work is your only ticket into court and it will carry a lot more weight than a sealed package, a Soundcloud link, or beer-soaked napkin.
In the USA, youd want to register your copyright with the US Copyright Office, part of the Library of Congress.
How To Obtain The Copyright For A Song
Remember that the more well-known and popular the music, the more expensive the rights and licenses to use it. And, of course, the more difficult it will be to obtain them.
If you really want to buy the copyright for a song, here are the necessary steps for that:
- Determine whether the song is copyrighted or in the public domain.
- Identify and contact the rights owner or the artist. You can find the copyrights holder at the database from the organization where the music was registered
- Negotiate the price.
Simple, isnt it?
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Music Copyright Designates The Ownership Of A Particular Song Or Recording
If you create a recording yourself, or if you pay for studio time and session fees, you own that sound recording. If you work with a label, theres a good chance the label controls the copyright to the recording at least for some set duration.
If you wrote a song by yourself, you alone own that composition. If you wrote a song with one or more people, you each own a portion of that song. You and your collaborators would then want to draft a document determining the splits , and register your copyright accordingly.
Artists And Sound Recording Owners: Heres Why You Should Register With Soundexchange
Are you an artist or sound recording owner thats not yet registered with SoundExchange?
Read on to find out why you should register.
1. Collect all royalties due to you.
SoundExchange is the sole organization that collects digital performance royalties for sound recordings* in the United States. So, one of the main reasons you should register is to collect any and all of these royalties that are due to you. You might already have royalties waiting for you, and even if you dont, its important to get your account set up in advance so that when you do have royalties available, everything is already in place for you to get paid.
SoundExchange pays royalties directly to music creators, offering monthly payments at one of the lowest administrative rates in the music industry and paying out most royalties within 45 days of receipt. Even better, you can opt in to monthly direct deposits to ensure that you get the money you deserve each month directly to your bank accountno more waiting around on paper checks.
Best of all? Registering with SoundExchange is free and easy to do using our online registration.
2. Enjoy the perks of SoundExchange membership, such as international collection.
Registering with SoundExchange allows you to collect your digital performance royalties, but why stop there? Once youve completed your registration, you have the option to become a SoundExchange member. Membership has its privileges, and at SoundExchange, its free.
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Why Independent Songwriters Should Register The Copyright For Their Music
Please Note: This article discusses opinions on copyrighting your music and should not be considered legal advice. If youre unsure about how the copyright laws in your country will affect you, please contact a lawyer before proceeding.
When you submit a song for copyright youre simply proving the date of submission of your work. The fine folks of the copyright office dont sit around listening to every submission to see if theyve heard it before. That would be an impossible task. When you write or record your song, technically, youve created it and thus you own the copyright to it.
Why Cant You Collect Mechanical Royalties On Your Own
Technically you could, but its very difficult and time-consuming.
Mechanical royalties are only payable to publishers, so youre not able to collect them as a songwriter. To make things more complicated, its very difficult for most independent songwriters to register with Harry Fox as a publisher because youd need to have a sizable catalog of songs. Luckily, CD Baby is here to act as your publishing administrator and make all this super simple. If you sign up for Pro Publishing well register your songs with collection societies worldwide and help you collect ALL your publishing royalties.
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How To Register A Work
SUISA can only distribute royalties for registered works. It is an absolute requirement that you register complete details on the work title and all involved rightholders so that we may pay the collected remuneration reliably.
You may register your works online or send us a works registration form by post.
Please note: Only members or associate members can register works with SUISA.
Sync Rights Kinda Sorta Apply To Youtube Too
Sync licensing also applies to YouTube videos of cover songs. So if a YouTuber records a cover of your song and wants to post the video, the mechanical license they acquired to distribute a recording of that song does not cover them for the video. Theyll need to secure a sync license from you.
But lets be clear: MOST people on YouTube are not getting sync licenses for the music they use. Thats why YouTube developed Content ID.When some YouTube sensation doesnt want to clear the sync rights with you directly, they can upload their video and allow YouTube to place a claim on their video via Content ID.
And this doesnt just work for cover songs, but your recordings too. If someone put your track behind their wedding highlights video, youll earn ad revenue.
If you opted in for Social Video Monetization with CD Baby well send your song to YouTube and add it into their Content ID database. That will automatically catch any use of your song in a video and monetize it accordingly. YouTube ads can add up to real revenue, so even if this person does not clear the sync license, youll be earning money from their video.
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If Youre Registering Your Music Copyright Directly With The Us Copyright Office By Yourself Youll Want To File:
- Form SR for a sound recording
Be sure to read all of the Copyright Offices circulars on the applications types first if your music is released, unreleased, or varied in authors there are different applications types that should be used .
What about if you want to register both the sound recording and the composition? See below.
According to copyright.gov, you can use ONE form to register both the sound recording AND composition, as long as the author and owner are exactly the same for all songs listed on the application and the release information is the same.
Form SR must also be used if you wish to make one registration for both the sound recording and the underlying work . You may make a single registration only if the copyright author and claimant is the same for both the sound recording and the underlying work.
Pick 3 To 5 Tracks From Your Catalogue & Export Mp3 And Wav Files
If youre not sure theyre good enough, try anyway. Youll soon find out. Theres nothing that kills the musicians ambitions quite like perfectionism.
Still, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind for successfully licensing music.
- Songs and/or instrumentals are fine. Explicit lyrics very rarely are.
- No samples! Apple loops and such are fine. Samples from other artists work or copyrighted speeches are not.
- You should own the rights to the tracks youre submitting. In case of co-authors, make sure youre all on the same page and ok to seek out licensing opportunities.
- Check with your publisher and/or label before you doing anything with your music, including look for licensing opportunities.
Export high quality MP3s and WAV files .
Note that I wrote preferably. Again, if for whatever reason you cant export your songs in those formats, just pick the next best option available!
For example, an MP3 256kbps or a WAV 16bit, 44kHz).
Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to audio quality:
- 24 bit > 16 bit
- 320 kbps > 256 kbps > 128 kbps
- WAV = AIFF > MP3
- 48kHz > 44kHz for any music that will be used on video
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Some Aspects Of Your Song Are Not Protected Even If Youve Registered The Copyright These Include:
- chord progressions
- the overall idea or concept of your song
- and a title or short phrase
Just think about how many songs have used cliche ideas like I wish you were here, or What doesnt kill you makes you stronger. Also, imagine how many copyright infringements there would be if the I V vi IV chord progression could be copyrighted. On the other hand, melodies and the actual lyrics are very much covered under copyright protection.
Beginning The Copyright Registration Process
If youre looking for the simplest way to register your copyright, get all your collaborator agreements in writing, and protect your songs, check out Cosynds special deal for CD Baby clients:
If you want to go the totally DIY route, the website for registering your copyright in the United States is . On this website, youll be able to print forms for mailing in the music you want to copyright, or you can submit your music for copyright online, which makes submitting even easier.
When it comes time to copyrighting your music, there are two forms you can use as a songwriter. They are Form SR and Form PA. Technically, there are three forms, if you consider the fact that theres also a short-form version of the PA form. But that offers the same protection as the PA form. SR stands for Sound Recording, while PA stands for Performing Arts. So how do you know which one to use? The following is from the Copyright Offices website and will answer that for you:
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Secure A Registrant Code For Isrcs
Apply as a recording rights owner to secure a Registrant Code so your label can assign International Standard Recording Codes . Complete the application and pay a one-time fee to the Recording Industry Association of America , which oversees ISRC assignments and issues Registrant Codes. This numerical code identifies your record label and is used as a prefix for an ISRC. An ISRC is a code that identifies a specific audio or video recording.
Receive your labels assigned bulk of ISRCs, that include as many as 100,000 ISRCs per Registrant Code, and assign one ISRC to each song that is fully produced and ready for sale or distribution.
When Do You Own Your Copyright
In the strictest technical terms, you own your musical copyright the moment you capture the composition or recording in a fixed medium. This could be something as simple as writing the melody or lyrics on a piece of paper or humming into a recorder.
However, registering your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office entitles you to enhanced benefits. Most important of all, in a groundbreaking ruling, the Supreme Court has mandated that registration with the USCO is required before you can file a lawsuit and registering early can earn you $150,000 plus attorney fees per deliberate infringement but only if you register early on.
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Organizations That Protect Copyrights
To protect rights across borders, authors societies sign mutual representation contracts with authors societies around the world.
Among the organizations that protect music copyright laws are:
CISAC the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers. It gathers around 230 companies from all continents and is headquartered in Paris.
BIEM the International Office of Mechanical Reproduction and Recording Rights Management Societies, which brings together the entities that manage mechanical reproduction rights.
FILAIE the Ibero-American Federation of Interpreters and Interpreters, which works as an international defense of the intellectual rights of performers, as well as promoting extension and improvement in Ibero-American countries.
WIPO the World Intellectual Property Organization that currently has 188 member states, promoting the protection and use of intellectual property worldwide.
Avoid Poor Man’s Copyright
The idea behind poor mans copyright is that if you mail yourself a copy of your work and leave it unopened, the official federal date can be used to enforce copyright infringement protection.
This is a nice idea, but it doesn’t work.
In order to have access to the courts, you need to register your work with the Copyright Office.
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How To Copyright A Song
The key to knowing how to copyright a song is to know what copyright protects.
Registering a copyright gives your song the full benefit of copyright protection. Your song’s music and lyrics are protected by copyright as soon as you record them, even if it’s just a rough recording on your cell phone.
But to get the full benefit of copyright protection, including the right to sue people for infringing your copyright, you must register it with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Find out how to get full copyright protection for your song.
Performing The Seven Registrations
Once the preparation steps are completed, youre ready to perform the seven registrations for all the music you release. This should take less than an hour per album of music.
1. Register each song at copyright.gov using the PA form.
Registering the composition copyright requires you use the PA form. Before starting this process, make sure that you know the names and contact details for all the songwriters of each song. Note that it may be possible to bundle the sound recording under the same registration if the exact same people are both songwriter and owner of the sound recording. If so, choose Sound Recording as the registration type and choose the register both option so you save money. Otherwise, register using the PA form. To get full statutory benefit, register the song before its released to the publicand yes, making it available to people via SoundCloud or other internet sites does count as a publication under the law.
2. Register each sound recording at copyright.gov using the SR form.
3. Register the song as a publisher at the composition PRO.
Log in to your publisher account at your composition PRO and register your song. Doing this will generate the other half of performance royalties generated by the composition. You can register a song thats already been released, but it will only generate royalties going forward.
4. Register the song as a songwriter at the composition PRO.
5. Register the sound recording as a sound recording owner at SoundExchange.
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