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
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