By: Bobby McHavens
When you copyright your music, you mark it as your own creation. This gives you legal grounds to go after someone who may be making a profit from it without your permission. It also is necessary when you register your music with BMI or ASCAP. They won’t allow you to make money from your music unless you can prove that you hold the copyright. This is not as hard as you might think, but you do have to fill out some paperwork and pay a fee to copyright your music.
There are a lot of mistakes that musicians can make, and one of the biggest problems is that they forget that you have to copyright your music so that you know it is yours, and that no one else can use it for a profit without your permission. It is like a piece of writing or a work of art. Once you have created it, it is yours, but you do have to be able to prove it. This is why you should make sure you do everything you can to protect yourself and your intellectual property.
Some people like to do this one song at a time, but you can save a lot of time and money if you have a recording of more than one song. Once you have it down on tape, and it doesn’t have to be fancy, you can then copyright your music all at once. Some artists like to submit an entire album at once, and that is always a great idea. This obviously won’t work if you have just one song, but it works well for most artists. If you have just one song, and you don’t know when you might write another, go ahead and copyright your music creations one at a time.
Though there are many ways you can prove that something is yours, you are far better of taking the time to copyright your music rather than to leave it to chance. If someone else manages to copyright your music before you do, and you can’t prove you wrote it or performed it before they got the copyright, you may have lost out on your own song. Copyright is implied the moment you create just about anything, but without proof, someone could come take it right out from underneath you without warning. It’s not like they are going to tell you what they are about to do, so make sure you protect yourself.