licensing

How to File For a Copyright and Which Option a Musician Should Choose?

What type of copyright to choose?

There are a number of forms you may need to fill out and file, along with the appropriate fees, with the Library of Congress to protect your particular type of work, but for our purposes here, we should focus on the two most important for musical works. First, there is the Form PA. This is what you fill out to protect an underlying musical work. This underlying musical work is the copyright to a particular song and not the actual recording of the song. In other words, if you play a song onto a work tape for the purposes of copyrighting the song, you aren’t copyrighting the actual recording, but rather the underlying musical work.

Form SR is usually reserved for master recordings, where you want to copyright the actual sound recording to prevent others from making copies of your masters. This type of protection is what most recording artist and record companies are worried about. Of course, with the Internet today, a lot of people are really into downloading or otherwise getting copies of outtakes, demos, or other non-licensed sound recordings of your work. So in some cases, it may be necessary to protect those types of recording too. The last thing you want are bad recordings of your songs being passed around for free.

Of course, there are a number of forms that may apply to your work, so you want to make sure that you get the correct one for the protection you are seeking. Again, please check with the Library of Congress for more information on the subject.

Types of copyrights that a musician should consider

What is copyright?

Copyright law is designed to protect the creator of works such as songs, recorded music, writing, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and a host of other expressions of ideas. It is very important to understand this concept, so I will repeat it : Copyright is designed to protect the creator of the works. In the beginning of this great country, the framers of the Constitution created the right to copyright to protect the originators of works. But they were also concerned about the general public having access to these works, such as books, which were the main subject of the original copyright act, so that the general populace would be encouraged to read and to learn. That is why they limited the right to copyright to 14 years. However, they also provided for the right to extend the life of the copyright to a longer period by application. But there was still a limit so that publishers and owners of copyrights didn’t end up with a monopoly over vital information.

How to earn royalties on your copyrighted music: types of licenses

It is very important to understand that there is a bundle of rights exclusive to a copyright owner. This bundle of rights includes the right to reproduce, distribute, and perform copyrighted material. Furthermore, these rights can be exercised by anyone that the creator or original owner of the copyright authorizes to do so. Usually, to authorize others to use a copyright, the owner of the copyright will enter into some type of licensing agreement. As far as the music industry goes, the most common types of licenses are performance licenses, mechanical licenses, synchronization rights, and print licenses.

Performance licenses

Performance licenses are usually granted to radio, television, concert venues, businesses, and other places so that they can play your songs publicly. The money you receive from these licenses is commonly referred to as a royalty. And we all know what that means: mailbox money! There are a lot of songwriters out there who will never have to work again because some songs they wrote a very long time ago are still raking in the money due to licensing and exploitation of those copyrights.