How to Copyright Music & Lyrics

By Cindy Hill

Songwriters and composers invest enormous amounts of time and creative energy into developing new musical works. Copyright provides legal protection to ensure that others can not exploit that creative effort by using music and lyrics without the permission of the songwriter or composer. The U.S. Copyright Office has made it relatively simple to register the copyright of music and lyrics in one filing.

Step 1

Access the U.S. Copyright Office's online registration service at by clicking on the icon for Electronic Copyright Office.

Step 2

Check the list of acceptable audio file formats if your work is unpublished and you will be submitting a digital audio file. Ensure that your song has been saved in one of the acceptable formats.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now

Step 3

Complete the information requested on the form including the full legal name of the person or entity registering the copyright, the name and description of the work, and contact information.

Step 4

Upload the digital audio file where requested, or indicate that a hard-copy will be mailed.

Step 5

Make the online payment of $35 with a debit or credit card and submit the application.

Step 6

Promptly mail the hard copy cassette or compact disc if you were registering a published work.

Step 7

Check to ensure that you receive an email advising that your copyright registration has been received. The copyright registration is effective as soon as the file is received by the U.S. Copyright Office unless you are notified that it has been rejected.

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


Related articles

How to Copyright a Documentary

Copyright is a form of protection that is available for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Your documentary film is entitled to automatic copyright protection from the moment it is recorded; however, you also have the option to formally register the work. Registration is beneficial because it creates a public record and allows you to recover monetary damages in the event that someone infringes on your documentary film. You can register in three ways: online through the U.S. Copyright Office, online using a document preparation and filing service such as or by mailing in paper forms.

How to Copyright Something in Canada

Under Canadian law, a copyright is created as soon as you reduce an original work of authorship to tangible form. Full legal protection, however, does not attach until you register your copyright with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. You don't have to be a Canadian citizen or resident to obtain copyright protection or register your copyright. Copyright protection in Canada guarantees you copyright protection in any nation that has signed an international copyright treaty.

How to Publish Poetry for Free and Get It Copyrighted

Poetry writing is a fun way to exercise one's creative writing skills. Poetry may be published free of charge on a person's website. Other sites offer publication of poetry books for a fee. Poetry is a type of literary work that is protected by copyright laws.


Related articles

How to Get a Copyright for an Instrumental

An instrumental work receives copyright protection as soon as it has been written down or recorded. Registration with ...

How to Copyright Jewelry

U.S. copyright law doesn't protect concepts or ideas for jewelry, but it does protect specific jewelry designs as works ...

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 ...

How to Copyright Printed Music Ideas

As a songwriter, musician, composer or producer, you own basic copyrights in your musical compositions, instrumentals, ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED