How to Copyright a Music Album

By Cindy Hill

Although copyright attaches to original music as soon as it's written down or recorded, and to a musical performance as soon as it's recorded, musicians should register their works with the U.S. Copyright Office to secure the ability to bring copyright enforcement lawsuits against anyone who infringes on their copyrights. Registering the copyright for a music album is faster and cheaper than registering each song separately.

Step 1

Locate the U.S. Copyright Office's online copyright registration, or eCO, feature on the upper right-hand column of the homepage of the U.S. Copyright Office webpage. Click on the words "eCO Login" to enter the electronic copyright filing site and begin your music copyright registration process.

Step 2

Register yourself as a user with the eCO system before you can proceed with your copyright registration. User registration requires completing your name, address, and other contact information where indicated on the screens.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now

Step 3

Click on "Register a New Claim" in the left-hand menu, then on the gray box near the top of the screen that states "Start Registration." Select the type of work being registered from the drop-down menu box at the bottom of the screen. For a music album, select "Sound Recording," and then click on "Continue."

Step 4

Click on the starred gray box that says "New" and type in the name of your album. Click on "Save" and then on "Continue." Indicate in the drop-down menu in the middle of the screen whether the work has been published or not, and then type in where indicated the year in which the work was completed. Click on "Continue."

Step 5

Fill in the author's information including citizenship and residency. The "author" -- copyright law uses this term for the creators of all original creative works including music and art -- may be either an individual or an organization, such as a band or music publishing company. Click on "Continue," and then fill in the copyright claimant's information including name and address. For a musician registering the copyright on his own compositions, the claimant will be the same as the author.

Step 6

Click "Continue" again, and you will be taken to a screen that allows you, if you so desire, to indicate a person to whom inquiries from the public may be directed regarding licensing your copyright. This may be an agent, attorney, band manager or recording studio. Click "Continue" and then fill in the name and address of the person whom the U.S. Copyright Office should contact regarding the copyright filing.

Step 7

Click "Continue" and fill in where indicated the name and address of the individual to whom the copyright registration will be mailed, then click "Continue" again. Indicate if necessary any special handling requirements on the next screen, then continue on to certify that you are the copyright holder of the work being submitted for registration. Click "Continue" to review your application in its entirety.

Step 8

Review your application information carefully, then click "Add to Cart" and proceed to checkout as with any online purchase. You will receive notice that you are leaving the Copyright Office website to make your payment, which you can make by bank account electronic transfer or with any major credit card. The general filing fee is $35.

Step 9

After payment, you will return to an eCO screen to upload the audio files of your music album. Audio files in most major digital audio formats including .aif, .midi, .mp3, .rmi, .wav and .wma are accepted. Upload the files in one of these acceptable formats, and wait for indication that the upload and your submission are complete. You can also register through the eCO system and mail in a hard-copy deposit -- CD or cassette tape -- of your album. Copyright registration is valid as of the successful submission of your application.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now
How to Copyright Choreography

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Copyright a Drawing

Under current U.S. copyright law, your drawing is automatically protected from the moment that you created it. You are not legally required to formally copyright it. The U.S. Copyright Office recommends that you obtain a certificate of copyright registration for your drawing to receive additional legal protections, including a public record of your copyright claim.

How to Word a Copyright Notice for a Screenplay

A screenplay is the written script of a film and it is automatically protected by copyright from the moment you write it down. You are no longer required to place a copyright notice on your work to gain this protection; nevertheless, a properly formatted copyright notice on your screenplay identifies you as the creator of the work and notifies the public that you are actively protecting your work. If anyone tries to publish your screenplay without your permission or claims it as his own, a copyright notice will make it difficult for that person to argue in court that your copyright was infringed unintentionally.

How to Copyright Your Comic Creations

Comic creations feature an abundance of copyrightable matter, including detailed art work, unique graphics and creative text. You can register your original creative work as a literary work or a visual art work. Complete the copyright registration application online or on paper. For paper applications, use form TX for literary works or form VA for visual art. You must include at least one copy of your comic creation with your electronic or paper application.

Related articles

How to Copyright Music & Lyrics

Songwriters and composers invest enormous amounts of time and creative energy into developing new musical works. ...

How Do I Correctly Format a Copyright?

A correctly formatted copyright notice on your literary, musical, dramatic or other artistic work shows the public that ...

How to Add Content to a Blog Without Copyright Infringement

When you start a blog, you want to add content as soon as possible and keep adding content on a regular basis. If you ...

How to Copyright a Poster

Federal copyright laws protect the creative expression of ideas, such as designing and producing a poster. A creative ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED