How to Submit Sound Recording Copyright Application Properly using Online?

What will happen if you already submit a single application with works created by more than one author? The US Copyright office will send you an email indicating this issue. They will ask permission from you to list only those works that you are the only creator. Supposing you file a sound recording copyright application (Form SR) with works such as follows:

Example Song #1” – Author: Mr. X and Mr.Y
Example Song#2” – Author: Mr. X
Example Song#3”- Author: Mr. X

If you are Mr. X and you are the one submitting that application to US copyright office, then they will ask you permission to credit only “Example Song #2” and “Example Song#3” as the works registered under your application (under your name of course). They will not include the first work because it includes Mr. Y as the co-creator or co-author.

2.) Bear in mind that submitting the work for sound recording copyright does not automatically include the copyrights of the song and lyrics IF the authors of the sound recording and song are not the same. These two copyrightable entities are different , e.g. copyright of sound recording is different from copyright of song/melodies and lyrics.

A common misconception revolving around recording and songwriting forums is that you can submit a single sound recording copyright application (Form SR) then it will include also protecting the underlying music and lyrics (e.g. the copyright of the melody and lyrics). This is only true if you are the owner of BOTH works submitted as a collection (requires that you create BOTH the song and sound recording). Read a part of an official email I received from a US Copyright representative:

“Your application also refers to sound recording authorship. For copyright purposes, a song (lyrics and/or music) and the sound recording (the recorded performance and/or sound production) of it are separate works. Generally, the author of a song owns the copyright in it, while the author of the sound recording (the performer and/or producer) owns the copyright in the recording. If the ownership of the songs and the recording is not the same, the recording cannot be registered on the same application with the songs.”

3.) If you are the creator of both sound recording and songs; the most recommended is to submit one application for copyright of sound recording and one application for copyright of songs, lyrics and melodies. These offers the best protection in both cases.

4.) If the sound recording and song has different authors, you can submit it as a collection/group of works. In this way, it is best to submit those works individually. Some guide in the screenshot below:

Sound recording copyright guide for single and group applications

Sound recording copyright guide for single and group applications

Content last updated on July 29, 2012