Practical View On
often worry that other people will steal their songs. They worry about
sending their songs to publishers or entering songwriting contests.
it's smart to be alert to copyright issues, it's also important to maintain
perspective. Outright attempts to steal songs in today's music business
are actually quite rare. And thanks to modern copyright law, songwriters
have safeguards to help protect their rightful ownership of songs they
to U.S. copyright law, songwriters own their songs the
moment their songs are completed. It's easy. Just affix
a copyright notice - i.e. © John Doe 2012 -
and you're in business. (Even if the copyright notice
is not consistently stated on recordings or lyric sheets,
the writer still receives copyright protection.)
experienced songwriters realize there are likely to be revisions or
rewrites on any given song, therefor filing a formal copyright registration
with the U.S. Office of Copyrights is often postponed until the song
is ready for public dissemination, say, a recording or CD release.
up to each individual songwriter to decide at what point in the creative
process they want to file a formal copyright with the Library of Congress.
And when you do, be aware that you can copyright multiple songs for
the price of one. To save money, instead of registering your songs separately,
register your songs as a "collection" of songs.
you decide to register your copyrights now or later, there's little
reason to worry about playing your songs in front of audiences, working
creatively with musicians and songwriters, or entering song contests
and songwriting events. There are legal safeguards in place to keep
your songs from being stolen.
bottom line is this: It's against the law to steal anyone's songs. Should someone try, you have solid legal recourse - whether or not your
song is formally copyrighted through the US Office of Copyrights.
SRN Song Professor
are many good books available on the subject of copyrights.
Information is also available through Songwriters
Resource Network and the official Library of Congress
forms are available at the U.S.
Library of Congress.
The Great American Song Contest is sponsored by Songwriters
Resource Network, a trusted resource for songwriters everywhere.