Copyright Yo Shit! The Step-by-Step Guide

My first experience with copyrighting my own music came about a year and a half ago, when I started getting serious about my music career. At the time, I was working with a producer in another state, and was writing & sending music without any second thoughts. One of my dear friends, out of concern for my musical success & future, told me I should copyright my music before sending it to anyone or posting it in any public domains. I took her advice—as well as signed up for an “Introduction to Business in the Music Industry” class—and submitted all of my songs for copyrighting.

The copyright process was tedious, so tedious, in fact, that before I’d opened up this blog, I decided one of my first entries must be a step-by-step guide on the process. “Doesn’t the website have instructions?” Yes…very tedious ones. “Why blog about this?” Quite frankly, because my heart is for integrity as it relates to the artist’s creative process. The realist in me knows there are hungry people out there lacking character who would love to profit off of the stolen ideas of others; and since I believe in the creative potential of others, it is essential for people to know how to protect their ideas, which in turn is protecting their investments & future. Whatever I can do to make the process easier for others makes me happy.

**One tidbit really quickly, the so-called “Poor Man’s Copyright”, although a helluva effort, will not, DOES NOT hold up in court & is not considered a real copyright, so going through this process is crucial if you really want your product protected.

What you’ll need: A debit/credit card or checking account with $35 dollars in it—depending on how many different types of copyrights you’ll need—and patience. You can submit multiple files under one $35 claim. If you have questions along the way, click on the following link http://www.copyright.gov/help/  and contact customer service. Lets proceed.

1- Remove your Pop-Up blocker.

2- Do not at ANY time during this process use the “BACK” button!

3- Go to this website: http://www.copyright.gov/

4- Click on the “eCo Login” link or logo.

5- Click on the same “eCo” logo again.

6- Click on the “Continue to eCo” button.

7- Click on the “if you are a new user, click here to register” link.

8- Fill in the information AND be sure your password has letters, numbers AND symbols.

9- Click Finish

10- Under “Copyright Services”, click on “Register a New Claim”.

11- Click on “Start Registration”.

12- Select the TYPE of work. (So if you’re submitting MUSIC, select “Sound Recording” or if it’s lyrics, select “Literary Work”); then press the greenish “Continue” button.

13- Click the “New” button.

14- Select a “Title type”. (I usually select “Title of work being registered.”

15- Give your work a title, then press the “Save” button.

16- Press the “Continue” button.

17- Select “Yes” or “No” for the “is this work published” question. Don’t worry about a preregistration number, unless you have one, and hit the “Continue” button.

18- The next screen will ask you for the name of the authors involved. Click “New”.

19- Fill out the Author information AS WELL AS the required fields. If you don’t have a DBA, don’t fill it out. Hit “Save”.

20- The next page will ask about the author’s contribution. It’s important to include ALL AUTHORS if there is more than one. Make your selections, then hit “Save”.

21- Click “new” & fill in all required fields including city, state & zip where you want to receive your copyright certificate when the process is complete, then click “Save”. If there are no other authors, click “Continue”.

22- If none of what’s on the “limit your claim” page pertains to you—as in your work is original, not based on anyone else’s—hit the “Continue” button.

23- This screen will ask you whom you’d like the copyright office to contact about your copyright. If the contact is you, hit the “Add Me” button, then the “Continue” button.

24- Repeat the same steps for the next page depending on your situation.

25- If you want your certificate sent to you, hit the “Add Me” button. If it’s being sent to another location, enter the correct address.

26- The next section is the “special handling” page. If you do not want to be charged $760 for special handling, then do not check any of the boxes. For the $35 copyright price, leave all fields unchecked and press “Continue”.

27- The Certification page. If you’ve been honest on this application, check the box, type your name & click “Continue”.

28- Review your application & make sure all fields are correct, then press “Add to Cart”.

29- Hit the “Check Out” button.

30- I suggest doing the “Pay Credit/ ACH” option, because it goes through right away. The “Pay Account Deposit” process is longer, & can take a few days. MAKE SURE YOUR POP-UP BLOCKER IS OFF! Click “Pay Credit/ ACH”.

31- The copyright.gov website will ask if you want to proceed. Click “ok” if you do & “cancel” if you don’t.

32- DO NOT USE THE BACK BUTTON.

33- Fill out the information and continue to the next screen.

34- You should see an “Upload Deposit” button. If not, click on the “home” link in the upper right hand corner, click on your open case. You’ll see the “Upload Deposit” button.

35- Attach what you’d like to copyright and write a description. If you click on the “acceptable file type” and “acceptable file size” links if you have any concerns about what file types & sizes are accepted.

36- Click the “Submit Files to Copyright Office” button.

37- You should see an “Upload Successful” screen. This completes your copyright process.

If you have any additional questions about the copyright process, like when you’ll receive your certificate, or when your music, poetry, etc, is considered protected, click on this link http://www.copyright.gov/help/ and call customer service.

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About CalliopeMusic

Singer, songwriter, blogger, rebel, producer in the making.
This entry was posted in Music Business and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Copyright Yo Shit! The Step-by-Step Guide

  1. This is QUITE an important post!! Especially for bloggers and such. There is a SIGNIFICANT amount of “jacking” that goes down on the innanets!! I know of two bloggers right now who got into a legal spat, but justice was served and only because of a COPYRIGHT! Good advice sis, your next step is charging people to do the process for them cause uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….. lol!

  2. Pingback: The Copyright Process | AllGraphicsOnline.com

  3. Arnold Wells says:

    I was wondering…..

    I have a rough draft of a song that is completed.

    The lyrics are not recorded yet.

    The reason why is because I have a friend that has all the info on his computer

    He is slowly falling off the face of the Earth sort of speak with getting together to jam if that makes sense. He needs a job and bills and blah blah blah..

    I don’t think he will steal the work but I wanted to know that even a few notes here and there that were played were off or a “goof up” will that hurt my copyright or do I need a perfect clean recording?

    And for lyrics should I write them down on a word document and send them in as well with the track alone? Do I have to actually sing them on the song first to be copyright or can I just send the word file with the lyrics with it to be copyright?

    I posted this link you made on my facebook for other musicians to see as well : D

    I will be doing this soon and really really thank you! I was so overwhelmed when I saw blahblahblah.gov

    • calliopebb says:

      I’m sorry it has taken me forever to get back to you (I suck).
      I would get both the lyrcis and music portion copywritten if I were you. All you need to do is type the lyrics up (rich text format), and make sure the melody is recorded (whether you’re singing, playing or not), and submit them online. Please email me if you have any more questions. Calliopebaptiste at gmail dot com

  4. This was an excellent post I searched around for ever trying to find a simple breakdown like this!!!

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