Tuncecore Poll Shows 44% Of Musicians Don’t Copyright Their Music

image from weallmakemusic.com A new Tunecore Soundcheck poll shows that a surprising 44% of musicians do not protect their work by copyrighting it.  Reasons varied from "I don't know how. to "cost ($35 and up) to "It's too expensive" and "I don't see the need".  Poll results and resources on how and where to copyright your creative output: 

SoundCheck Results: Copyrighting Your Music

Results to the poll: Do you register the copyright for your music?

image from tunecore.typepad.com


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  1. Too expensive? Does it really cost anything in the USA? It’s free in Europe. And the whole point about copyright is that it enables artists to earn money. Labels don’t screw all artists. Some artists screw themselves.

  2. in the united states, works are copyrighted as soon as they are fixed in a tangible medium, i.e., writing it down or recording it. copyright REGISTRATION is only necessary if you wish to ask for attorney’s fees and avoid litigating the validity of the copyright and/or the date of creation as registration is considered prima facie evidence. the works are protected as soon as they are written/recorded.

  3. A ‘hey look I did this’ does not hold up when you need to defend your copyright. You may also need to prove the copyright if you want to license or sell your album to a label, defend a claim against an disgruntled band member, or someone else making a false claim. in the US it’s $35.00 to register a Sound Recording. If you take your music and business seriously, register your copyrights!

  4. In America, copyright is vested from the moment the work is recorded in a tangible medium… so the statement that “44% of Musicians Don’t Copyright Their Music” is misleading, maybe even irresponsible (but it gets your attention). That being said, there is no better way to defend your ownership of a composition/sound recording than to have it registered on file with the US Copyright Office. Is registration absolutely essential in order to prove ownership? Nope. But it sure speeds up settlement of any disputes.
    Just saying, not the most accurate headline…

  5. Forgive me if my US Copyright knowledge is out of date, but I believe you still have to file a PA form, in addition to the SR form. PA for the musical composition, and the SR for the specific recording of a composition. So, that’s $70 per song. And, you must file both forms for each song you wish to register. Attempting to file multiple compositions under one filing only protects the entire collection of those works, not each one individually.
    So, to recap; a PA and an SR form for each song. And make sure you fill them out correctly, because if you have any errors, the Copyright will not accept your form, but they’re sure as hell going to keep your money.
    Also, as stated above, the copyright is born when fixed to a tangible medium, but you can’t take any legal action against infringement until you file with the Copyright Office.
    To be clear, I am not an attorney. I know this information was true a couple of years ago. However, if there is an attorney out there that knows I’m wrong about any of this, please chime in, because I’d like to know as much as anyone else.

  6. A Copyright is “As soon as it is affixed to something tangible” – that is, you can see it or hear it. You need to register your copyright if you want to feel safe from being sued or a good chance in suing someone else, plus you may need that year and registration number, especially if splitting Publishing with anyone. Keep in mind, although they may date it as soon as they receive it, you won’t get it back for many months…
    Music Business Consultant,
    Educator & Contract Specialist

  7. I do believe you can copyright the physical recording with a cd,and you can have up to one hour and 20 minutes worth of music on it .If you can’t afford the $35 to do each song ,you can pay $35.00 to copyright the cd until you generate some income.

  8. @Murray – Sounds like you’ve been paying wayy too much for a long time. As long as all the owners are the same for both the song (PA) and the recording (SR) you can register them both at the same time for $35. AND as long as the owners are the same for all of the songs in the collection, you can register as many songs as you like on the same form.

  9. It’s been a while since I’ve copyrighted anything, but I’m pretty sure that you need to pay $35 per song, whether or not you include multiple songs on one form as a collection. If not, that would be like copyrighting your album only in its existence as an album, not each individual song.

  10. Your link to “U.S. Copyright Office forms and instructions” is not actually to the U.S. Copyright Office, but rather to a private company that prepares copyright registration forms for a fee and then apparently submits them to the U.S. Copyright Office for you. When you go to their website, it looks like they try to make you think that you’re at an official government website, but you’re not.

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