Written by Gary Ewer, Senior Instructor, Dalhousie University, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website.
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Judging by the emails I get, many of you are worried about how to shop your songs around without worrying that someone will steal them. Trying to get other singers interested in your music is a tricky business, and requires enormous patience. Keep in mind that what you’re really interested in is not selling, but enticing others to hopefully perform and/or record your creations. That creates royalties for you. I did a post recently about that whole process, but this article is more about protection for your songs.
Here are some tips for making sure that your songs remain yours:
- At the bottom of the lyric sheet, or the music sheet if you’ve got it in musical notation, put the copyright symbol (a ‘c’ in a circle), the year, and then your name. This is not a necessary step to ensure copyright, but it helps to immediately identify the song as yours.
- Record your song if you can’t get it into a written format.
- Register the song with your country’s copyright office. A quick search online will give you the address of the appropriate office. There is a fee for registering songs, but if you really fear that someone will steal them, the fee (usually $50 or so in North America) will be worth it.
- If you have several (or many) songs to register, simply compile them into a book of your songs, and then register the copyright of that book with the copyright office. That way, you pay only one registration fee, and all the songs within that book are protected.
- Some people send a registered letter to themselves with their song and/or lyrics inside, hoping that this will prove copyright. This is unreliable, and I have heard from those in the legal profession that it DOES NOT stand up in court.
- Be very careful sending your music to any online agency that offers to shop your music around to professional singers. Ask for references from any company who wants to take your song to do anything with it. Do an online search for the company name to make sure they’re legit. If you can’t find any information about them, don’t send them your music! And don’t send them any song that you haven’t registered with your country’s copyright office.
Bad songs WILL NOT get the attention of ANYONE. If you want to know what to do to fix your songs and build an audience base, download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6 e-book bundle right now. You’ll be downloading the materials moments from now.