Many people wonder about the benefits of copyrighting their music with the United States Copyright Office. Registration of a copyright is not required for your work to be protected by copyright, however, there are certain benefits and protections of the law that you will only get with registration. For example, you cannot file a copyright infringement case in federal court (the court that handles copyright cases) if you have not registered! Plus, the costs of registration are minimal and allow for the peace of mind that you can protect your rights later in a case of infringement.
Registering your mark with the United States Copyright Office gives you the following benefits*:
- Public notice that you own the work;
- Listing in the United States Copyright Office’s online databases;
- The ability to bring a lawsuit to protect your work against infringement in federal court;
- A legal presumption of your ownership of the work in court (if certain conditions are met);
- Statutory damages and attorney’s fees (i.e. more money!) can be awarded to you if you win an infringement suit (if certain conditions are met). This is in addition to the award of actual money damages you would be entitled to if you won your case; and
- The ability to record the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
Filing a copyright application is best done by someone experienced in filing copyright registrations as the applications can specific information and can also be quite confusing to someone who has never filed one of these applications before. Click here for more information on IAR’s Copyright Registration Services.
This site is not intended or offered as legal advice. These materials have been prepared for educational and information purposes only. They are not legal advice or legal opinions on any specific matters. If they are considered advertisements, they are general in nature and not directed towards any particular person or entity. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between this site, Indie Artist Resource, Erin M. Jacobson, Esq., and you or any other user. The content is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. The law may vary based on the facts of particular circumstances or the law in your state. You should not act, or fail to act, upon this information without seeking professional counsel. No person should act or fail to act on any legal matter based on the contents of this site. Unless expressly stated otherwise, no document herein should be assumed to be produced by an attorney licensed in your state. For more information, please see the “Terms and Conditions” section of this site.