How to Copyright Music

We meet with many artists who ask how to copyright music.  To many people, music can mean many things. Music may refer to the lyrics, music videos, the music recorded by a sound recording, the musical composition and arrangement, or it may mean the live performance of the music.

The first step in copyrighting music is to determine what exactly is to be protected with a copyright.  Once the particular type of musical work is identified, then we need to look at how is it is recorded.  To be copyrighted, a musical work an original work which is fixed in a tangible form or expression.  If the musical expression is a video, then the video is to be protected.  If the music is on sheet music, then sheet music must be copyrighted.

The process for actually registering the musical work for copyright protection can be as easy as meeting with a Copyright Attorney who will then obtain a copy of the musical work and ask a series of questions related to who owns various copyrights in the music and who will be the owner of the copyright registration.

A musical copyright may also be registered with by the artist with the governmental copyright office for a nominal filing fee.  A copyright registration for music can be very valuable to help stop someone from stealing your music.  If done correctly, the law provides for statutory damages of up to $150,000 per musical work infringed.

While hiring an attorney to copyright music is not cheap, in contrast to the amount of damages you could recover if someone steals your music, it is a small investment for potentially a very large award. Please contact on of our Copyright attorney’s to discuss how to Copyright music.

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