The writing of musical songs usually begins as an artistic outlet but sometimes develops later into an unexpected business proposition. Songwriters who have crafted one or more finished songs can receive legal protection for their work by registering a U.S. copyright.
There is ongoing market demand for new songs. A well-crafted song written for purely personal motives can quickly gain popularity if accepted by a broad audience. Quality songs possess the potential to eventually become an economic asset.
A songwriter owns the basic copyright to a song as soon as the song reaches a completed state. Even though the basic copyright is owned, it may not be able to stand up later to the rigors of a possible legal challenge. Registration of a copyright provides public notice of ownership, along with potential marketing leverage.
A fully completed song may be registered with the U.S Copyright Office. The song must exist in a fixed state, and it must be capable of being recorded or written as sheet music. Once you have perfected the final version of a song, you are ready to officially register your copyright. Most song copyrights are registered after choosing between two U.S. Copyright Office forms.
The form for performing arts is used if your song is completely written, but not in its optimal recorded state. Form PA provides registration of the central elements of a song, such as lyrics and melody. Many songs contain somewhat similar chord progressions, but it is the intricate melody and unique lyrics that make a song memorable.
Form SR is used to register a specific sound recording of a song. For a media company, Form SR provides copyright protection for the perfected rendition of a song. Form SR may also serve a dual purpose, providing copyright registration for both a specific recording and the underlying song itself.
Along with either application form, your song must be submitted in some tangible fashion. The U.S. Copyright Office requires either a recording of your song or the sheet music for the song. If you have more than one completed song, they may be combined on a single registration form.
A registered copyright for a song is valid for 70 years after the death of the song's author. Memorable tunes with commercial appeal are like a commodity. Songs sometimes re-emerge years after their original creation in advertisements or a newer rendition. Contact an intellectual property lawyer, like Adrienne Naumann, for assistance in registering a copyright for your songs.Share
29 September 2015
While I took a few business classes in college, I left early to start my own business. I thought I had the knowledge I needed to become a great business owner and was eager to start my business. Soon, I had a new business that was actually performing pretty well in sales. Unfortunately, I hadn't taken any law courses in college, and I soon realized I made a few mistakes when starting my business that could cause me some legal trouble. Thankfully, a great business lawyer helped me correct my mistakes before I had any legal problems, but I then decided to take those business law courses. I want to help business owners and anyone else who would like to learn more about the law by starting a blog where I will share what I have learned and will continue to learn. I hope I can help you!