This blog post is going to lead you through the steps to copyright your album. Even though it may not be the most exciting topic and many musicians question the necessity, it's important to see the value of the copyright as an insurance policy for your song. In the one-in-a-million chance that Coldplay's new song sounds eerily similar to a song on your last album, you'll be glad you spent the $55.
*Note: This post is only a guide, as this is not legal advice from a copyright lawyer. If you have songs with multiple writing credits and contributors, you might want to seek professional advice.
Visit www.copyright.com/eco and click on the button to "Log in to eCO." From there, enter your information to register as a new user or log-in if you have already created an account.
Once you have logged in, you will be brought to the main menu where you can see any copyright cases you currently have open. To start a new case, click on the link to "Register a New Claim" from the menu on the left side of the screen. From there, you will answer three questions about the work you are submitting which will determine the appropriate application form.
Choose the "Type of Work" you are registering from the dropdown box. Looking at the descriptions of each, it can get a bit confusing on whether you should choose "Sound Recording" (SR) or "Work of the Performing Arts" (PA). In simple terms, if you are a singer-songwriter who owns both the song as well as the recorded master, you can fill out one (SR) form for all songs that you own. If there are multiple songwriters in your band, you need to fill out separate (PA) forms for the group of songs that each member wrote individually as well as a (SR) form for the band's master recordings.
Enter the album and song titles for each piece you are copyrighting. Note that these songs don't necessarily have to be grouped into an "official" album; they could be listed as something as simple as John Smith's Songs from 2016 as the "Title of work being registered" and each of your songs as the "Contents Title." If you are unsure of how to label things you can use the handy guide below.
Continue through all of the prompted screens entering information like authors, publication date, etc. When finished, you'll be ask to pay and then upload all of the MP3s of your songs. Finally, click "Upload Complete" and you're done! You now have the piece of mind knowing that your songs are safe and secure from copyright infringement!
Note: This process can take 10-12 months to complete, so don't be fearful that it's taking a long time.