FAQ - If I register a song with a performing rights organization, is it under copyright?

Again, your song is copyrighted as soon as you finish writing it but it’s a good idea to register that copyright with the government (see “How do I copyright my songs?). Registering a song with a PRO will allow you to receive performance royalties if that song gets radio play; it does not give you protection under copyright law.

Member Comments

Posted by vankerck on 2005-01-08 at 1:07:00 am

If a song is automatically copyrighted then why really ever copyright it officially.  I would love to know particular reasons

Posted by Joseph Ardigo on 2005-02-17 at 12:43:08 pm

As of last year I am a registered member of BMI and I have my own Registerd Publishing Co.“Spiritual Warrior Music.” I have over 200 songs in my catalog.I haven’t had much luck on placing my songs. Does the fact that I am a registered songwriter & music publisher mean that all my songs are registered W/BMI? If not how do I go about it.
Ardigo Spiritual Warrior

Posted by Jason Rich on 2005-03-02 at 11:12:47 pm

Hi Joseph. I’m interested in your label. My email is: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
lemme know more..thanks

Posted by RnBMistress on 2005-03-08 at 9:34:36 am

To Joseph Ardigo:
I am a registered songwriter/music publisher with BMI also. Why would you want to register 200 songs with BMI? Especially if they are not in the stages of being recorded by any artists. Wait, find an artist to sing some of your songs, then register them with BMI. BMI only collects royalties for the songs if they get airplay, or are being performed. I hope I’ve been of some assistance to you. If you need any further assistance just contact me through email.

Posted by RnBMistress on 2005-03-08 at 9:38:12 am

To Vankerck says:
If a song is automatically copyrighted then why really ever copyright it officially.  I would love to know particular reasons.

Answer: To be on the safe side you should register your songs with the copyright office. In that way you’d have a case if ever anyone tried to steal your songs. Without the copyright registeration there is no proof…the poormans copyright will not hold up in a court of law. It’s better to be safe then sorry later on.

Posted by stephanie on 2005-03-15 at 10:41:53 pm

I just started a publishing company through ASCAP and my advice is to definitely register your works with the Library of Congress. This will hold up in court better than the original draft of your work if there’s ever a dispute. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Gary E. Andrews on 2014-01-10 at 5:04:19 am

By law, your copyright is ‘bestowed’ as soon as you put the work in ‘fixed form’, written or recorded. That ‘bestowing’ is an idea, a nebulous, non-real thing.

But someone could steal it, register it themselves, and you would have a hard time proving you wrote it and not them. You would have to prove they had ‘access’ to steal it, and did. Your registration, predating theirs, would carry a lot of weight in court.

Registration with the Library of Congress Register of Copyrights ( http://www.copyright.gov ) is the ONLY way to get a hearing in federal court where federal copyright law is heard. No lawyer who knows the law would take your ‘case’ without it. He might take your money but he could not get your case into court. No federal judge will let your ‘case’ on his docket without registration.

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