If you are a serious musician or writer you may at some point want to copyright your own original work. You never know when you are going to need legal recourse for your own protection. Lyrics, music and original unpublished writings are stolen all the time. I am writing this article to hopefully make it easier and less expensive for some of my good musician friends and writers who read this blog on occasion. You don’t need to pay somebody else to copyright your work. You can easily do it yourself. I have personally copyrighted 7 of my own songs with lyrics.
Start by visiting the Library of Congress Copyright Office website. Until recently, as a musician, I had to use a form PA which was the abbreviation for Performing Arts. The form had to be downloaded, filled out and mailed in with your original work including any lyrics, demo CD’s etc. This form is still available if requested. They have recently made it where you can use the electronic copyright. It will cost right about $35.00. Once you enter the site just click on electronic copyright office. Register with a username and password and follow the on screen instructions. The site will allow you to upload your original writing or lyrics and music via MP3. You should know that it will take roughly 4 to 6 months to get your certificate of registration back. You can preregister your work if it’s being prepared for commercial distribution but the fee is considerably higher. It runs about $115.00. The copyright office makes people completely aware that preregistration is not to be used as substitution for registration. You will still eventually have to register your work.
That’s about all I have for you today. If you have some really great stuff and you are considering selling it commercially it may be a good idea to go ahead and protect yourself. In my opinion any serious artist should always copyright his or her own original work.