FAQ - How do I copyright my songs?

Technically, your song is copyrighted as soon as you finish writing it. However, you’re going to want to register that copyright to protect yourself in case someone tries to use your song without your permission. You can download copyright registration forms from the Copyright Office at http://www.copyright.gov/forms, or you can call the Forms Hotline at 202-707-9100, or write to the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC 20559-6000.  You can also register online, which is less expensive than paper filing and much faster.  Online registration of a basic claim in an original work of authorship is $35.

Member Comments

Posted by Kristina on 2004-11-09 at 4:37:23 am

If I have my own publishing company, do I copyright my songs under my name or under my publishing company name?

Posted by thundersound on 2004-12-15 at 3:49:43 am

Should my songs be published before I register them?

Posted by Tim Behrens on 2005-02-19 at 8:43:29 am

I have heard that you can copyright performances as well, so that if you copyrighted an entire cd of newly written songs as a single performance, they would all be protected… that this is a good way to save money.
Is this true?

Posted by Jason Rich on 2005-03-02 at 11:10:21 pm

Wouldn’t it be form SR for sound recordings, rather then form pa?

Posted by Kenny on 2005-03-03 at 6:06:51 pm

Can you copywright a compilation with one copywrite protection cost of 30.00?

Posted by stephanie on 2005-03-15 at 10:43:46 pm

I think you can copyright up to 5 songs max per one copyright form. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Tshaye Lindsey on 2010-03-18 at 8:49:59 pm

Is it suggested to copyright lyrics only if you don’t have a melody or what if you do have a melody in mind, but need someone to help you piece it together…someone please help!

Posted by Nat B. on 2012-09-17 at 6:56:13 pm

I would say Tshaye that if you have a melody in your head but can’t put it down it’s important that you have them the melody written down otherwise in terms of copyright it could get complicated. If you can’t write down music, you can pay someone who knows how to write music to write it down for you. In that case, they wouldn’t earn any royalties, as they didn’t write the actual melody.

Copyrighting lyrics and melody is a good idea once they are both finished. Whilst in the process of writing a song, it’s important to think about the song itself and not worry about copyright until it’s done.

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