Want to Copyright a Song?

Here are a few things to know about when copyrighting a song.

To understand how to copyright a song, one must first understand what the term copyright means from a legal standpoint. A valid copyright will need to satisfy three elements that the U.S. government has set out. 

The first is that you need to have an individually created work that has some minimal degree of originality.

The second is that the work must be one of the eight “works of authorship” that the United States Copyright Office has defined.

Lastly, the work must be fixed, meaning the work should be written, recorded or otherwise embedded in some physical form. Anyone should be able to reproduce the work of art you create.

Your composition or song is copyrighted automatically when the work is created for the first time because the law defines a recording as a fixed work of authorship. However, you may still want to register your copyright.

When you submit a song for copyright you are simply proving the date of submission of your work. The registration will then put the world on constructive notice of your song, which will give distinct advantages when proving a case of copyright infringement.

It is important to note that certain aspects of your song are not protected even if you have registered the copyright. These include: chord progressions, the overall idea or concept of your song, and title.

This may seem like it goes against the reasoning of a copyright, but it is actually the exact opposite. The policy behind copyright law is to encourage new works of art with the incentive of exclusive rights over those materials. It would seriously hinder the creation of new work if no one could ever use similar progressions or titles of songs because there have been so many to come out.

On the bright side, a copyright will always protect melodies and the actual lyrics of a song.

Need help copyrighting a song?

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