How to Copyright Your Music as an Indie Music Artist

How to Copyright Your Music as an Indie Music Artist

Indie Music Artist,Independent Musician Resources

Many indie music artists are surprised to learn that they can copyright their music. Yes, they can, even if you are not signed to a record label. Suppose you wrote original music and want to protect it from being stolen or used without your permission. Then you need to know how the process works and what steps you can take.

And with the right independent musician resources, you can copyright your music easily. This article teaches you everything you need to know about copyrighting your music. This includes what rights it protects and how an indie artist can do so effectively.

What Is a Copyright?

Copyright is one of the best independent musician resources. It gives you the legal right to claim authorship of your work and control how it’s used. You can also use it to prevent others from stealing your music. This way, they won’t profit from it without your permission.

A copyright is an intellectual property that protects original works. It doesn’t protect ideas but how they are expressed through writing or art.

How to Copyright a Song and the Independent Musician Resources You Need

If you’re an independent musician, you must know how to copyright a song. Unfortunately, many indie music artists don’t have the time or money to invest in legal counsel.

So, what can you do? The good news is that plenty of resources are available online. They’ll help those who want to learn more about copyright law and its benefits.

These steps will help you learn how to copyright a song. They will protect your rights as an independent musician.

Prepare Forms, Documents, and More

To copyright a song, you’ll need to have the following materials handy:

  • Songwriter’s name
  • Artist (if different from songwriter’s name)
  • Album name
  • Song title
  • Producer name
  • Split Sheet
  • MP3
  • Lyrics

Ensure you have all the necessary information for each item and your full legal name. You can also use this form to get an ISRC code from PRS for Music. This will help you identify your songs and protect them from theft. This step helps prevent unauthorized sharing and distribution of your music.

Register Online

When you finish organizing your information, it is time to begin the registration process. Yes, this part might seem tedious, but it’s exciting. Once your songs are in the Library of Congress through proper registration, it’s extraordinary.

To begin, go to and click “Register a Copyright.”

  • Create an Account. You will need to create an account to begin the registration process. This will allow you to log in and access your information later on if you need to make changes or additions.
  • Register New Claim. After creating your account, you will be asked to register a new claim. This is where you enter all your information and submit it to the Copyright Office. You will need to enter as much detail as possible. This way, they can correctly identify who owns the copyright and when it was created.
  • Pay the Fee. You must first pay a filing fee to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. The cost to record one musical composition is $35. If you’re registering multiple at once will be $55 per registration. You can make payment via credit or debit card—it’s the simplest way to do so!
  • Upload Your Songs. Now, you’ve paid the fee and registered your songs with the U.S. Copyright Office. Next, they’ll provide you with a confirmation number. This confirmation code will be used as proof of ownership. It’s helpful if someone tries to infringe on your copyright. Next, you’ll need to upload an audio file of each song you wish to register.

How Does a Copyright Protect My Work?

For indie music artists, copyrights protect you from being ripped off by others. Suppose your song is stolen or copied without your permission. And suppose it was sold as a cover tune. The copyright gives you legal recourse to sue for damages.

A successful lawsuit can result in the perpetrator paying back profits from the use of your work.

Why is Registering a Copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office Important?

One of the most crucial independent musician resources is your copyright. It gives you legal music ownership. You can register your song with the U.S. Copyright Office. This protects it from being used without permission. That includes someone else who steals or copies it and sells it as their work.

You can also use this registration to sue someone who uses your song without permission. The U.S. Copyright Office offers a simple online registration process. The process takes minutes to complete.

Once you’ve registered, they’ll issue you an official registration certificate. The certificate also records the date you registered your song. This is important because it establishes the date of creation for legal purposes.

How Do I Know the Office Received my Copyright?

The U.S. Copyright Office website states that you will receive an email from them. This email confirms each step of the copyright application process. from the office once your form has been submitted and processed.

Also, they do not send confirmation receipts. But an artist will know when the entire copyright registration process has been completed. This show that their work is officially registered.

After you submit your application to the office, they’ll mail you a certificate for each work. Processing times can vary depending on how many applications have been submitted. It also depends on whether there have been any problems with those submissions.

Copyright for Indie Music Artists: How to Avoid Scams

Online and offline copyright scams are a serious problem for indie music artists. Many unscrupulous individuals might try to exploit your ignorance about the copyright process. They will steal your work or charge you for something free elsewhere.

One common scam is when someone offers to register your song for a fee online or by phone. This can be tempting if you don’t know any better. That’s because it sounds like an easy way to get official protection over your music.

The poor man’s copyright” is another common scam. This can be especially dangerous for indie artists. The “poor man’s copyright” is a bogus method of protecting your work. It works by mailing yourself a copy of your song before publication.

The theory behind this is simple. Suppose you can prove that your work existed before it was published. Then it would be harder for someone else to claim ownership over something they had nothing to do with.

While this may sound like a good idea, in theory, the “poor man’s copyright” does not protect your work. The reason is that there are no laws to enforce such a practice. So, anyone could claim ownership over something they had nothing to do with. They can say it was their idea all along.

Final Thoughts

Copyrights are independent musician resources that can help protect your work. So, they are a must for any musician. Indie music artists must ensure that copyrights protect their music. This will ensure that they can continue making money off of their music for years (or even decades) down the road. You can either do it yourself or hire a lawyer to do it for you.