Copyrighting is the first step in protecting your hard work. Think of copyrighting as intellectual property. Copyrighting is about the same as a patent on an invention or a trademark and it gives you the right to reproduce your song, publish it and sell it. Start off by performing your work.
Copyrighting isn’t free but it’s worth it if you have a good song. Once you feel like you have adjusted the song to the point that it is a good song make a manuscript of the song if you don’t have one already. You have to have a manuscript of the song with lyrics and melody written out. The idea of what a song should sound like is not something you can copyright, but a lyric with the melody written out is. Get someone to write it for you if you don’t write music.
You have heard of the poor man’s copyright, and this is about how it works:
1. You take the manuscript, CD or other object, put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself.
2. Once you have it back DO NOT OPEN IT and stash it in a safe place.
Here is the real problem with the poor man copyright; it’s not any good anymore. There is to much technology now days that can fake the date on an envelope and if you had to go to court to get it proved that it was yours, you would wind up paying for the ink experts, computer fraud experts and who knows what else. A legitimate copyright will cost around $45 and you can get several songs done all at the same time like on an album. If you want you work protected this is the way to go.
How To Save Money On Copyrighting Songs
You can find the forms at www.copyright.gov It’s less expensive to copyright your own songs directly with the copyright office. You only need to copyright them once. The copyright is good for your lifetime plus around 70 years. Also, to save money, you can copyright a group of songs together, instead of individually.
When I copyrighted my songs, it was the same price to copyright a book or CD of songs as one single song. Therefore, with a CD of a dozen songs you don’t need to pay 12 x $35 to copyright. It was a flat $35 and all of the songs are covered.