Submitted by: Nicholas Alfonse
One of the most essential, yet occasionally overlooked pieces of becoming a professional musician is ensuring your musical creations are copyrighted. Not only does this protect you from theft or fraud, it registers the song or album as a unique, singular creation which can never be duplicated or repeated. From the U.S. to around the globe, there are a number of methods to safely and effectively copyright your property.
Moving hand in hand with the ongoing increased online convenience in today’s industry, the U.S. Copyright Office allows artists to register and protect their music right over the internet. Using the eCO Online System, you can create an account, specific to your property and begin the process of copyrighting your hard earned success. eCO provides a tutorial, help system, and a complete walk through of the process, but you should still be careful while registering, making certain everything is completed completely and accurately.
After finishing the online form and double checking all of the info, eCo utilizes a simple online checkout process, wrapping everything up cleanly and swiftly. Of course, nothing in this world is free, right? The U.S. Copyright Office charges $35.00 for an online registration, after which you’ll receive a confirmation email with further instructions. Finally, the form must be printed and mailed in with a physical CD, or a digital upload if that’s easier for you. For those not particularly internet savvy, you can also complete a hard copy of the form to mail into the Library of Congress, which costs $50.00.
Once the forms and music are sent off, all that’s really left to do is wait. It usually takes about six months up to one year for processing, but once this is done, you’re officially registered and protected. When mailing anything into the Library of Congress, be sure to use a shipping method with tracking numbers or confirmation, providing back up proof of your submission.
So in the end, what’s the fuss about copyrighting? The largest aspect is the protection copyrights offer you, guaranteeing a song or record is forever 100% yours. If anyone attempts to rip off one of your registered creations, the penalties can be quite high, and a lawyer can file a formal criminal complaint against the offender. Aside from all the legal jargon, copyrights also allow artists to copy, distribute, perform, and display the products at will, maximizing the ability to promote and spread their music.
The music business can easily become a harsh place to fight for success, and copyrighting your tunes is another important way to establish yourself as a professional musician. Once an album is ready for release, check out the eCo system and see if it’s the right choice for you, as everyone’s career path is unique. My Free Copyright.com is another method to register single songs, but doesn’t provide grounds for seeking damages on an infringement. Remember, writing exceptional music is always the priority, but one can never ignore the realities of the digital world we currently all live in.
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