Register Your Music / Songs to Legally Claim Copyright Music Rights

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Lynn, Eng, Dougie and 4 others


Everyone has an artistic side. If you are musically inclined, then it is your calling to make good music so that you can express yourself. Beautiful musical pieces are created every day. The composer's own words and music combine well to produce a song that is meant to be heard and appreciated. It is imperative that you, as the songwriter, protect your piece so that you can claim your rights as the owner. Doing so will prevent opportunistic people from taking credit for your creation.


Why Protect Your Music?

Serious musicians like you should be wise enough to have your original compositions registered. If your song is registered, you will be protected against anyone who tries to claim your song as their work or steal it. The process that you have to go through is the same, whether you want to copyright an entire CD or just one original song.


The Berne Convention

The Berne Convention (or the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works) is the international law or agreement that governs copyrights. It was accepted in 1886, in Berne, Switzerland. The Berne Convention mandates its members to practice the recognition of the authors' copyrights for their works in other designated countries (countries that are members of the Berne Union) in the manner similar to the way they would recognize their own authors' copyrights. An example would be any composition that is performed or published in Italy. Italian copyright applies to this piece no matter where it was created. According to the Berne Convention, copyright should be automatic. It is not allowed to require a formal registration for any work. However, the United States continues to protect only pieces that are registered. The Berne Convention stresses that the copyright immediately exists once the tangible form of the musical composition is made. This may be in the form of CDs or music sheets. The copyright may be immediately granted as soon as the work is finished but the author should still prove the copyright ownership. This allows creators to seek injunctions or compensation against those who take advantage of their works.

Protecting your Music in the United States

The United States has the U.S. Copyright Office to help authors and composers register their original works. Though the procedure followed in the U.S. is not applicable to other countries, there are still valid ways to protect your piece. Below are the steps you should consider:

  1. 1
    Create a good copy of your musical composition
    You can do this by creating sheet music, a video, an LP, an MP3, a cassette tape, a mini-disc, a USB drive, or a CD of your work.
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  2. 2
    Register your work online
    Registering your composition online is a much faster process. If you go through the snail mail process, it's going to take you up to a year and three months before your song gets registered. Online, all you have to do is go to the U.S. federal copyright site, then click on the Electronic Copyright Office. This department will help you file your copyright online. But first, you have to register for a free account.
    1. Click on the "New User" button to create your account.
    2. You have to provide your name, country, address, preferred manner of contact, and phone details.
    3. Once your account is opened, you can freely use it to copyright any of your works. Your account also grants you the freedom to monitor your copyright applications.
    4. Here, you can also learn more about making a claim. In order to complete your application, you have to click "Register a New Claim", under Copyright Services, which is on the left portion of your account page.
    5. Prepare to answer some questions about you, as the author, your work, where you want to receive the certification. A fee of $35 must then be paid through electronic check, copyright office deposit account, debit card, or credit card.
    6. Next would be uploading the electronic copy of the finished composition. The Copyright Office provides a complete list of accepted files so you won't be sending an incompatible copy. You can also send a hard copy of your work if you don't want to go through the electronic process. The hard copy is non-returnable. It should be boxed up and not sent through an envelope. CDs are required to be in jewel cases. The site provides a shipping address slip.
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  3. 3
    Register conventionally through mail
    To do this, you have to accomplish the proper downloadable form the official website or have it delivered to your door by requesting the necessary forms from the Copyright Office. There are corresponding fees for every form that you should clarify with the office as well. As you fill out the forms, remember to follow the instructions. You could always contact the Copyright Office if you have any questions. Once you've obtained and filled out your forms, place them in an envelope with the hard copy of your music. Don't forget to include the $50 payment before sending to the Copyright Office.
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  4. 4
    Wait patiently
    Patience is the last ingredient in registering your work. It will take an average of eight months, but the bright side to all the waiting is that the copyright of your work immediately takes effect the moment the Copyright Office receives your materials.
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Protecting Your Music in Other Countries

If you want to protect your music in Australia or in New Zealand, the following are the things you should take note of:

  1. 1
    Create your song
    Once you have created your musical piece, copyright automatically exists. In Australia, there is no authority for song registration. If you want to have your music played in the United States, just go online and register it.
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  2. 2
    Use the copyright symbol
    You may or may not use this because your copyright already exists either way. However, this symbol is like a warning for those who would want to make illegal claims.
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  • Note: Australia has APRA, which only deals with the royalties for your work and not the copyright for your songs. The New Zealand Intellectual Property Office handles copyright issues. Remember that your copyright exists whether you publish your song or not.

General Concepts about Copyrighting

It is ideal that you protect your work the right way and avoid the so-called "poor man's copyright". This has been a long-standing practice in the industry of music. It involves mailing your recorded song to yourself to guarantee a copyright. The envelope has to be kept sealed once you receive it. The poor man's copyright has been discredited since it doesn't stand up in numerous court cases.


Awareness of the Berne Convention is a strong consideration especially if your country is part of the Berne Union. Even if there are several contributors to the musical creation, the Convention has rules that take care of the issue. Legal counsel helps in such cases.

What Do You Get From Copyrighting your Music?

Copyrighting your music proves that the song is yours. If someone steals or claims your song, you can sue that person or company for damages. A criminal investigation can be initiated if your lawyer determines the copyright infringement to be purposefully done. The following exclusive rights are granted to you as the owner of the song:

  1. 1
    You can make duplicates or copies of your music
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  2. 2
    You can distribute your song.
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  3. 3
    You can make alternate arrangements or versions of your song.
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  4. 4
    You can perform your songs in front of an audience via digital audio transmission.
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  • Keep your song a secret until you're ready to apply for a copyright and release it.
  • Remember that your copyright application can be accessed by other people since it is available online.
  • Request a return receipt when you send your song to the Copyright Office. The receipt means that the copyright process has already begun.

Questions and Answers

How can I claim rights to a song?

How can I claim rights to a song?

You should contact the person or persons who are responsible for distributing, uploading, or downloading your content. You can use the letter format below.

Dear Sirs and Mesdames:

I am writing you regarding the [subject of the copyright claim] available freely for public access. The copyrighted work is [name of the work of art] performed by [the name of the artist] and released in [year] by [label name]. The copyrights belong to [your name] (that is, to the person writing this) and [list other names who hold the copyright]. The label and the physical release (the work in question and the screenshot of its cover artwork) can be found at the following location: [list the online or paper reference that distributes your work legally].

My phone number is [include your phone number], and my email address is [your email address].

The work has been sufficiently and entirely protected by Electronic Copyright Office (eCO) (, cases [name the case numbers], both paid and closed). [you can list any other copyright offices here]

I have good faith belief that the use of the copyrighted materials described above and contained on the service is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or by protection of law.

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Yours faithfully,

[your name or full signature]

I made a song using Royalty Free Material And I mixed it up. Can I claim rights to it?

I made a song using Royalty Free Material And I mixed it up. Can I claim rights to it ?. I have tried: Nothing yet I'm just starting. I think it was caused by: Nothing

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Categories : Music

Recent edits by: VisiHow, Inukshuk, Dougie-1

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