Copyrighting Your Music

In 1870, Congress passed a law moving registration of copyrights from the federal courts to the Library of Congress. In 1897, Thorvald Solberg, not yet a household name, became the first Register of Copyrights and served in that capacity until 1930. Today, the Library of Congress is still the place to go to register your copyright.

Your creative work is protected by copyright as soon as it is created and "fixed" in a tangible form such as film, a sound recording, etc. However, to fully protect your rights in a court of law it is vitally important to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, which is part of the Library of Congress. Having done that, you get a certificate of registration and your work is a matter of public record. Then, if it becomes necessary to sue to protect your rights, you have proof of the originality and authenticity of your work.

To register, you need to submit the correct application form, a non-refundable filing fee of $30, and a non-returnable copy (or copies) of your work. For forms and more information, contact the U.S. Copyright Office via the mail, online, by phone, or even in person.

The Library of Congress
Copyright Office
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

There is a 24-hours-per-day forms hotline at (202) 707-9100. Once your completed application is accepted, it can take as long as eight months to process.

For copyright forms, registration information, etc, go to http://www.lcweb.loc.gov/copyright

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