Copyright Registration for Songs & Music Albums TUTORIAL
Taught by a copyright attorney, this no-fluff, no-nonsense course is for people who already know they want to register copyrights in music, recordings, or both, in the United States and just want to understand how to do it correctly.
If you are looking for an exposition of the history and development of copyright law, an in-depth analysis of substantive copyright law, and relentless pitches to persuade you of the need to register your copyrights, then this is not the course for you. The material is presented on the assumption that you already understand that the copyrights in songs and recordings are potentially very valuable and why you should register the copyrights in your music.
The first part of the course provides information about the registration process and the meanings of critical terms you will need to know, Key concepts such as derivative work, work made for hire, publication, and best edition are explained in just enough detail to enable the average person to understand how to complete an application. The specific requirements the U.S. Copyright Office has established for deposit copies of music and sound recordings are laid out. You will also learn about the various options that are available for registering copyrights in music and sound recordings, including the new (in 2021) GRAM application for registering music albums.
The second part of the course takes you to the U.S. Copyright Office website, where I will walk you through the application process step-by-step. beginning with the Single Application for one work by one author, proceeding through the Standard application, the GRUW (group of unpublished works) application, the GRAM application for music (group of published musical works on an album), and the GRAM application for sound recordings. It concludes with a brief discussion of collective work registration – the advantages, disadvantages, and potential pitfalls. Eligibility and deposit requirements for each kind of application are provided.
Part 3 describes what happens, or can happen, after you file. Here you will learn how long you can expect to wait, how long you have to respond if the Copyright Office contacts you about your application, how you can challenge a denial of registration, and some things to consider before you do.
Note that the U.S. Copyright Office’s processing times, particularly for paper applications and applications with physical deposits, have been slowed considerably as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also note that the Music Modernization Act goes into effect in 2021. This changes the procedure for obtaining compulsory licenses to make and distribute copies of a song digitally online. The NOI procedure for obtaining a compulsory license to make and distribute physical copies (e.g., CD-ROM or vinyl) remains as described in Lecture 22.
What you’ll learn:
- Save hundreds of dollars, possible over a thousand dollars, on copyright registrations
- Ensure you are using the correct form to register your copyright so your application is not delayed or rejected
- Ensure you are sending the correct deposit, in the correct form, in the correct way
- Avoid common mistakes than can hold a registration up for months or even years
- Understand the meanings of key terms like “derivative work,” “publication,” “work made for hire,” “collective work,” and “best edition”
- Complete a US copyright application to register claims in music, sound recordings, or both
- Complete a US copyright application to register a claim in an entire album of music or sound recordings