Ari's Take

How To Copyright All of Your Songs For $55

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As I mentioned in Copyright Your Song Or Glee Will Steal It, it's important to get your music registered with the US Copyright office. God forbid, someone copies your song and then makes millions on it, you should be able to get some of that money! Many people talk about the "poor man's copyright" which means putting your CD in an envelope and mailing it to yourself and keeping it sealed until that fateful day when you need to sue somebody who not only copied your song but turned it into such a massive hit that it's worth your time and lawyer fees to go after them. These don't really hold up in court that well though.

Save a stamp and just register all of your songs at once on Copyright.gov

It's not hard. Actually I just registered all the songs from my upcoming album (and some other stragglers that didn't make the cut - for good measure).

Sure, you COULD register each song individually so the Library of Congress lists each song title next to your birth name, but that costs $55 a pop. Are you that rich? I'm not. So just register them all under one title. It makes no difference. No one will ever look this up. It's only for you to reference if you ever need to file suit.

**Please note that this method works ONLY if you own BOTH the sound recording AND the composition (words and music) copyrights. Meaning, if you co-wrote any of your songs or are releasing your music with a label that owns your masters, you'll have to register those songs / releases separately. If you just own the composition (not the sound recording/master) then you have to select Work of the Performing Arts.

On the home page click the giant E button in the center of the screen with the arrow pointing to it that's labeled "Electronic Copyright Office"


Then on the next screen click the same button so you can login (or register). If you have a hard time with computers (how are you on their website in the first place?), you can print out a paper form and mail in a physical CD, but it costs more ($65) and is . . .well. . . just don't. Get your grandson to help you.

On the Login page click "If you are a new user, click here to register."


Once you've registered and are logged in click "Register a New Claim" on the left side


Then check the No box for "I am registering one work" Because you're registering ALL your songs.


And check the appropriate other boxes.

Then Start Registration

For Type of Work select the drop down menu and select "Sound Recording"


Then click New.

It will ask you to title the work: You can title it something like "Complete Works 2014" or something.


Then go through all the other specific prompts like who all the authors (co-writers) are, published date, on and on.

AFTER YOU PAY (I was worried too), it will ask you to upload the files. You can upload as many songs as you have. They have an upload size limit which they explain to be about 135 128kbps songs. So, you may need to re-compress the songs to be 128kbps (or smaller). No one is going to ever hear these songs other than the judge in court once that one-in-a-million day comes where you have to sue Coldplay (zing!).


Once you're finished, select Upload Complete and BAM you're done.

Protected more than the 22 year old sealed letter with the cassette tape in it locked in your basement vault containing your high school band's first demo.

+Copyright Your Song Or Glee Will Steal It

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Ari Herstand (pronounced Ar*ee Her*stand) is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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