How Much Does It Cost To Copyright A Song?

Last Updated on December 5, 2021 by Peter Townsend

The copyright office demands that you pay for the fee prior to uploading the files to your tracks.

If you submit one work for one work, the cost is $35. If you’re sending multiple documents and the cost is $55. It is possible to pay by credit card, electronic check, debit card, or copyright office deposits account.

If you’ve recently released a brand new album or single it’s essential to copyright the music whenever you can.

Technically speaking, to copyright a track, as long as it’s your original creation the song must be put into a tangible format (so when you write it down or make it into a recording). 

But, registering your music works or recordings to the U.S. copyright office provides legal protection from anyone who might try to copyright your work. If you do not have a copyright registered it is impossible to access courts to apply it.

How to Copyright a Song

1. Be prepared for the procedure

Before you begin filling out and submitting the correct documents to the government, you must ensure that you’ve got everything organized.

Here’s a list of items you’ll need for every song you’re looking to copyright:

  • Information about songs (artist album, artist and any other pertinent information.)
  • Separate sheets for each track (an agreement that names the producer and the songwriter and also outlines the contributor’s ownership percentage for the song.)
  • MP3’s.
  • Lyrics.

2. Visit this website to access the U.S. government’s copyright website

Once you have the information in hand go to the website copyright.gov to get started.

In the section “How can I …” choose “Register a Copyright.”

3. Create an account

Choose”new user” to open the “new user” option to sign up for your account.

You’ll need to submit the following information:

  • Name.
  • Address.
  • Country (if is not in not from the USA).
  • Phone details.
  • Contact method of preference.
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4. Create an entirely new copyright registration

Once you’ve signed into your account, it’s time to begin an entirely new copyright registration.

To start to begin, go to “Register new claim” in the section to the left.

If you’re registered for multiple songs make sure you ensure that you select “No” on the box for “I am registering one work.”

Note: An album could be considered a single piece of work. The only thing that can be protected is the order in which music (choice among songs or their order that they are presented in) and an album is group work. So, a collection song is a single work in the event that the person who composed them is a singular person and the arranger is also the author. 

One example is a collection of different artists. The business or person who licenses the copyrights for the musical works and sound recordings is given authorship and ownership rights in the arrangement and selection of the music titles. Therefore, the album is an owner and author who is a single person.

Then, select the kind of work you want to perform from the “Type of Work” dropdown “Type of Work” dropdown.

If you’re registering an audio recording, choose “Sound Recordings.” If you want just to record the original work that is a music composition or song’s lyrics, choose “Performing Arts.”

Then, click “New,” and start by filling in the questions for co-writers, such as who they are, when the book was published, and so on.

In certain circumstances, the artist or band sign an exclusive recording contract with a label and gives their rights to the lyrics and music for the record label in order to create the masters which the label then owns as a result of their recording contract. If the band or artist creates their own music and then pays the masters themselves then that the band or artist will be the one who wrote the recording of sound and the underlying music.

The Q&A clarifies the distinction between recording a sound file and performing arts copyrights in greater specific detail.

5. Make payment for the cost (BEFORE uploading your files)

The copyright office demands that you pay for the fee prior to uploading the files to your tracks.

If you submit one work for one work, the cost is $35. If you’re sending multiple documents and the cost is $55. The payment can be made using a credit card debit card, electronic checks, or even a copyright office account.

It is possible to look at the costs related to copyrights here.

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6. Upload your works

Once you’ve made your payment the website will prompt you to upload the required documents.

You are able to upload any number of songs you like, however, they do have an upload size limit that they describe as being 135 128kbps. Therefore, when uploading your audio files you might need to compress them to reduce their size.

Then, hit “Upload Complete” and you’re done!

After your application has been submitted after which it could take a couple of months for the process of reviewing to conclude. Your copyright’s period of effect for the copyright begins at the time that you submit your application to the Copyright Office receives and accepts as well as the following:

  1. A filing cost.
  2. The application.
  3. The required deposit for all cop(ies) from work. work(s).

Other items to be kept in mind

Make sure that the music you choose to use is 100% original

According to U.S. copyright law, any false information in the application for copyright, if found out during a court hearing could cause a denial or denial of the copyright. “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice took the bass line of Queen as well as David Bowie’s hit song “Under Pressure” and Vanilla Ice was legally sued. Look up 17 USC 411(b) for additional details about this.

Do not copyright poor men’s copyright

The concept behind poor man’s copyright is that if send yourself a copy of your work, and then leave it in a sealed envelope, the federal date could be applied to enforce copyright infringement.

It’s a good idea however, it’s not working.

To be able to gain an access right to courts, you have to submit your work to Copyright. Copyright Office.

The Berne Convention

When your home country is a signatory to the Berne Convention, copyright comes into existence when you write music. In several countries, including that of the U.S., your copyright has to be registered to be able to avail the benefits of courts.

In addition, there is it is worth noting that the Berne Convention offers some level of protection internationally. You can learn more about international copyright protection here..

You aren’t able to copyright your music or music.

Technically speaking, when your music or recordings are turned into a tangible format the copyright is granted.

If you don’t register these rights in the U.S. Copyright Office, you cannot use the courts to protect copyright rights.

The only location where you can authentically register a copyright in the United States is the U.S. Copyright Office, which means you have to pay the appropriate charges.

You might want to seek professional assistance

The process of registering copyrights is fairly simple, however, it’s possible to ignore some key aspects. Incorrect registration can cost you money, so it’s worth exploring a company like LegalZoom to register your music in the office of copyright on behalf of you.

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