Copyright Registration for Music

Copyright is the legal right, established by federal law, of an author to control his or her intellectual creations, and to make copies of his or her original works. In the music industry, an “author” can be a songwriter or a recording artist who records the song. The law protects a songwriter, and recognizes him or her as the song’s owner as soon as the song is written down or recorded. The same is true for a recording artist, who acquires a copyright to the recording of a performance the moment that performance is recorded. Copyright allows songwriters and recording artists to protect and maintain ownership of their creations, or to transfer those rights to third parties, like record labels.

As suggested above, copyrights for written songs are separate from the copyrights for recordings of those songs. Publishing companies acquire the copyrights to written songs through a publishing agreement; record companies acquire the copyrights to sound recordings of those songs through a recording agreement.

You can read more about Copyright Basics and Copyright Protection: Notice and Registration by clicking on the blog title link.

Registration Details

  • Registration with the U.S. Copyright office for published and unpublished works
  • Registration fee is $35 per application
  • More than one work can be registered in a single registration
  • Attorney's fees for first copyright registration is $175 (Consultation fee credited)
  • Attorney fees are $75 for each subsequent registration filed together