Copyright Mistakes to Avoid in Music Production & Songwriting

Think for example you have an album project (e.g. 12 songs with 3 singles). Therefore the following are copyrightable (which you should do to have full protection):

1.) Entire album as a sound recording project. (One application of Copyright SR)

2.) Entire collection of your songs in the album (One application of Copyright PA, take note that the copyright of sound recording is separate from the copyright of music and lyrics)

3.) Sound recording of a single (Three application of Copyright SR one for each single)

If the cost per filing is $35 (US copyright online), then the total cost of a copyright application are as follows:

$35(for album as a sound recording) + $35 (for all songs a music/lyrics) + $35x 3 (for each single as a sound recording) = $35+ $35+ $35×3= $175.

What if you decide that the sound recording is to be revised or the lyrics/melody of the song is not appropriate? This is where a lot of confusion in the copyright world starts to evolved. This implies that the copy of your work stored in your country copyright office is not the latest or the updated version. So the safest thing would be deposit again the final work and you will spend another $175 for another copyright application.

I have finalized one copyright application back in 2005 in Philippines which is a sound recording project. And the good thing is that it is an album project and all work is already done and finalized, so no revisions are to be made. Even though the Philippines copyright application does not have an online facility (where I could re-submit easily for any changes), I have done a good job in the first application.

But what about the rest where a lot of musicians are in need to have their work to be protected? This post will look into common copyright application mistakes that you should avoid. I am not an entertainment lawyer so do not take the information on this post as a legal advice.

Don’t rush for Copyright Registration without finalizing your work

The common advice is to immediately register copyright after completing the work. This is both a good and a bad advice. It is good in the sense that it protects your work immediately. It is bad because most likely your work is still not yet finalized. There are still a lot of changes to be introduced to your song or recording project during the tracking and even in the mixing process.

If you register a lot of unfinalized work, you will be incurring a high cost of copyright application and this makes it harder for you to manage all of your copyrights. Unless of course if the copyright budget is not an issue and you can submit as many copyright application as you want.

If there is a need to publish the unfinalized work (such as in your personal blog), make sure you have some evidence that you created the work first. I will not go in detail but there is a lot of creative ways you can do this in your own. For example, make sure you kept a copy of your song writing cassette tapes, hard drives and other physical evidence containing your originally work. The most important information is the date of creation. Some would place the cassette tapes in the mailing envelope and then send it to yourself. The date stamped by the post office can serve as the date of creation.

Poor man copyright

Poor man copyright