How To Get A Copyright?
- The first thing you need to do is record your song in a ‘tangible medium.’ That can mean writing it down, recording it in a studio, a CD, or even on your phone. You can’t copyright it if it is just in your head!
- Secondly, get an account at the U.S. Copyright Office Website. Yes, this will cost some money, but it is cheaper if you register online rather than sending your copyright by mail. You can still send a copy of your work in the mail but again register online at copyright.gov. Once you are there, click on ‘register a copyright’ and then click ‘log into eCO’ – from there, you’ll be able to login or register.
- You’ve got your account sorted, so now you need to fill out the online copyright registration forms (you can register on paper with Form PA, but why bother?). Take your time to make sure you get the details filled in duly!
- As we mentioned, copyrighting a song isn’t free (it’s the music business, right?). So, you’ll need to use a credit or debit card, an ACH transfer, or a copyright office deposit account to pay the registration fee. If you decided to register on paper, you would need to include a check or money order. Online registration is about half the price of paper registration, due to processing costs, or some such chat.
- Submit a copy of your song. Post your CD, sheet music or other physical copy, or upload the track digitally – check the copyright office website for exact details of how many and what types of copy you must send for published and unpublished records.
- Wait and wait some more. It takes around three to five months for an electronic copyright registration to be processed and seven to ten months for mailed applications. And given the cost and the time taken, it is worth getting your registration right (step 3 above). However, once it is processed, you will have taken a big step towards protecting your intellectual property – and hopefully, getting paid!