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These days, putting your songs online is practically as natural a step as writing the song in the first place. But putting your songs online comes with some risk. The general public can now hear your song, and even though copyright is automatic, you might still discover that someone (or some agency) has written a song that’s too close to what yours sounds like. What can you do?
Registering your copyright is an important step, and if you haven’t done that or considered it before, it’s time to give that some thought.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you’ll want to consult the website for the U.S. copyright office, and specifically the page that deals with the performing arts. You’ll see that there are a few links off of that page that will be pertinent to registering the copyright of songs.
There is a fee for registering the copyright of your songs, but you can group up to ten of your songs together and register their copyrights as a single bundle, and this would seem to be the most cost effective way of doing it. So if you’ve just written what you think might be an album, this is the way to go.
You’ll also notice on that page that there are videos meant to help you through the process, and so if you take your time, you should be able to find the information you need.
There are lots of law offices that have information online about how to register your copyright. But a few warnings for you:
- Be sure you’re looking at a page written by someone in your own country. Copyright laws and procedures differ slightly from country to country.
- Check the date of the article you’ve found. Laws are always changing, so unless it was written very recently, use the page for general information only.
- Most law firms will offer to do the registration for you, and will likely charge a fee for doing so — a fee above and beyond what the government requires for the actual registration.
But copyright laws don’t change that often, so unless the article is really old, you should be fine using it for what you need. Here’s an article that lays things out in a very clear, concise way: “Why Should I Register My Songs With The Copyright Office?“, written by Gerard Fox Law in the U.S. But copyright registration is something you can do without legal assistance.
Check the Laws for Your Own Country
As I say, most countries will have their own law firms and government agencies that can explain the particulars of copyright law as it pertains to their own citizens. For any search you do online, simply add your own country to the search: “copyright law registration songs Canada”, for example.
The main reason you’d want to register the copyright of your songs is that in most countries, if you ever do need to proceed with a legal action against someone who has stolen your songs, copyright registration is a requirement.
But also, registration also gives you that feeling of comfort knowing that your songs are fully protected. It also is a way of demonstrating to the world that not only did you write the song, you intend to vigorously defend your authorship in court if it comes to that.
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