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How to get solid copyrights for songs?

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In the U.S. you need to check out copyright.gov, the website for the Copyright Office. This is really the best way to copyright your songs as other methods have not always stood up in court.


Use form PA (performing arts) to copyright your songs (lyrics set to music). There's another form if you just have lyrics but I don't remember it offhand. Most people these days send a recording of the song on CD. Form PA is all you really need if you plan on shopping your song around to publishers, producers, etc.


Use form SR (sound recording) to copyright the recording of your songs. You'll want this if you'll be releasing your own recordings, either to sell as CDs at gigs or as digital downloads online.


You can submit one package to cover both forms PA and SR simultaneously.


The amount charged is per form. That is, it costs the same if you register one song on one form PA or ten songs on one form PA. This makes it more economical to register a "collection" of songs at one time, although it can make things a bit trickier when it comes to publishing or licensing single songs from the collection. Nothing a good entertainment lawyer couldn't sort out, I'm sure. [They're really the best people to consult on any legal matter concerning the music industry since that's what they've studied and practice every day.]


I just checked copyright.gov a few days ago and noticed they announced they will be accepting online registrations in the near future. Keep your eye out for when this is available, as it may be more economical than mailing in submissions.

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