Should You "Copyright" Your Tracks?

Posted by Aaron Davison on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 Under: August 2013

A question I get frequently is whether or not you need to copyright your tracks in order to license your music.  Technically speaking, the moment you write a song you own the “copyright”.  Which literally means that you have the right to copy, replicate and distribute your music as you wish.  If you write a song, it’s your intellectual property by default.  If you wrote it, you own it and you can do what you want with it.

The whole point of “copyrighting” your music with the library of congress, is to have a paper trail that proves you own the song, in the event that there is ever a need to prove to someone that a song you wrote is yours.  For example, if someone stole your song and claimed ownership, if you’ve registered your copyright you would have an easier time proving the songs is yours should you need to do so in court.

But do you need to “copyright” your music in order to license it?  No.  This isn’t a prerequisite per se.  I’ve licensed tracks that I haven’t filed a copyright for.  I haven’t really heard of that many cases of indie songs being stolen and used illegally.  I’m sure it happens, but I don’t think it’s that common. 

The bottom line is this:  If you can afford to pay the $35.00 fee to copyright your tracks, then you probably should.  It’s sort of like buying insurance against theft of your music.  But it’s not mandatory and if you can’t afford to do it, don’t let it hold you back.  I think you should do everything in your power to get your music out there and be listened to.  Don’t let a small thing like not copyrighting your tracks hold you back.  Do it if you can, but in the meantime, keep pitching your music.  With the money you make from your first licensing deal you can probably pay to copyright all your tracks!

For more information on how to copyright your songs online, visit http://www.copyright.gov/eco/

In : August 2013 



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