Copyrighting my band's recordings

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Nickthebassist, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. We're about to start recording a home done EP, but we were wondering what we have to do to copyright the songs?
  2. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Send the lyrics to yourself recorded delivery and then never show them anyone.

    All my copyright is taken care by my publishing contract I can check the details of what they do but it won't be today.
  3. Well how do i do it? I can't keep the lyrics away forever!
  4. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    As I understand it, the minute you write something, you have copyright. The trouble is proving that you, rather than someone else, wrote it.

    Write the lyrics on a piece of paper, maybe even add a tape or cd. Make sure you include full credits. Seal the envelope. Send it to yourself recorded delivery. Don't open the thing when you get it.

    This proves only that you sent it to yourself at a certain date. But it provides evidence that someone else who later claims credit for the song did not record it first.
  5. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I'm not sure of the real world utility of that approach. Technically it does exactly what you said: proves the recorded work existed at date X, but if you ever had to defend the work in court I don't know how well it would work in practice (I'm pretty sure record companys and music publishers don't do things this way...). The issue is that you don't actually have a copyright, just a means of challengins someone else's should it emerge latter.

    The better alternative is to file a record with the US Copyright office. Their website, unsurpisingly, is, and a FAQ is available here:

    One thing you should work out with your bandmates before doing this is exactly how you plan on copyrighting the material. Audio recordings are copyrighted as "Joint Works", i.e. they are owned by all the performers present, unless noted otherwise. This means that if there are 4 guys in the band they each own 1/4 of each part of the song (the drummer owns 1/4 of the guitar solo and lyrics). A common approach is to copyright the audio and lyrics seperately for this reason.
  6. Well then contact Parliament? ;) It's right near Big Ben. And a rotary (i love that movie) I'm kidding.

    Also, realise that whatever copyright you obtain is prolly only good in yer country.
  7. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Oh...sorry about that. Try you should be able to dig the info you want out of there.\

    Edit: PS Google is your friend :)
  8. glnflwrs


    Jan 25, 2005
    Hesperia, CA
    While another country may have different copyright laws, there is an international standard and enforcement agreement between most countries and they agree to enforce eachother's copyright laws within their own country.

    Sooo.. It's good in every country that is a party to the agreement.

    To copyright just the creative work, the music and lyrics, You need two copies of the music in either notation or performance and two copies of the lyrics written. You send both sets along with the request for copyright to the US Copyright Office. You can download a set of copyright laws and applications at...

    They will do a search for the titles of your music. If no match is found you are issued a copyright and one of the sets you submitted is sent back to you with a certified copy of the the request for copyright.

    If they find a song in their archives with the same name they will pull the music and lyrics and compare them to yours. If they are totally different they will issue a 'cr' for those that are different and not for any lyrics or music they determine to be the same.

    A title is not copyrighted. Example: you right a rock song titled "Twilight Time". They find 6 songs titled "Twilight Time".
    They will issue a 'cr' if your song and lyrics are not the same as the other six.
  9. That is 100% correct. The second you write something you have a copyright on that piece. If you write it on your computer it will store a date when the file was created otherwise just write the date on the paper and add (c) + your name.

    The copyright (c) is not mandatory you have copyright anyway but it shows that you are willing to protect your creation if necesarry. Basically the (c)=I´ll sue your ass if you try to steal my stuff!!
  10. Also needs to be noted that you can only copyright original music (duh!). If you intend to record any cover songs, you obviously cannot copyright the song to yourself - you must give credit and be aware that certain publishing laws then apply should you sell any copies of your cd.

    in fact, along with copyrighting your material, you should also check out publishing rights for your music. many bands have become unstuck (and dangerously bitter toward each other) when the royalties for song publishing become an issue. for example, if you write the bass line for a song, you are not automatically recognised as the writer of that part, unless you have agreed to share writing/publishing credits.
  11. Right, good good. We can put the copyright sign on it and send it to ourselves recorded delivery. That should scare anyone off who wants to steal them.