Electronic U.S. Copyright application: How long before I can publicize the song?

If i file an electronic application with the United States Copyright Office TODAY, is the song fully protected as of TODAY'S DATE?

Is there a waiting period / processing period?

Must I hold off until I receive some official notification?

If there's an official Copyright Office publication that spells this out, I haven't seen it yet.
 

Chili

Site Moderator
Short answer: You're good to go.

Long answer: You were always good to go. The song was protected as soon as you got it out of your head and into a tangible form. The registration with the US copyright only protects you when you have to prove that someone else stole your song.
 

musicturtle

New member
Short answer: You're good to go.

Long answer: You were always good to go. The song was protected as soon as you got it out of your head and into a tangible form. The registration with the US copyright only protects you when you have to prove that someone else stole your song.

This is true. Also, they should send you a conformation email when you register and pay for proof of date. It usually takes about a year for you to get the official paper in the mail.

This link should answer most questions you have.
https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
This is true. Also, they should send you a conformation email when you register and pay for proof of date. It usually takes about a year for you to get the official paper in the mail.

This link should answer most questions you have.
https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

Do they still send paper? I dont recall getting a paper version last time...
I wonder if it can be printed off the site or something for older ones.? If it gets lost or didnt show up.

off topic, but I did make an error on one submission and the USGov wanted $135 to correct a title, even though the title was on the copyright in other places; the was missing in one line.
So I asked (emailed) "could it be edited?" etc...to fill a skipped/missed line.....they said "sure for $135!".
fyi...I recommend taking your time to fill the lines out and add notes in the comments etc..

As for timestamp, I agree with everyone else. You get the confirmation emails immediately so that seems to be the earliest date stamp (other than when the DAW hardrive could have the tracks labeled).

The last Ive done is CD full of tunes for my sons band and a couple singles of my own, just an old habit at this point, consider copyrighting part of the recording process for the price of a dinner out at $30-$35. For a whole CD of music its not a bad deal, doing a single it kind of sucks its the same price. So its like $35 for 28 songs or $35 for one song....seems kind of a ripoff ..er....or....a good deal depending on the quantity submitted.


I recall the old days it was a nice stamped paper, where the paper was actually braille like stamp you could feel, then it was changed to just photocopying flat stamps and now Im not sure what the forms look like, but hmmm? I dont recall even getting paper versions in the mail?
 
I recall the old days it was a nice stamped paper, where the paper was actually braille like stamp you could feel, then it was changed to just photocopying flat stamps and now Im not sure what the forms look like, but hmmm? I dont recall even getting paper versions in the mail?

I can remember the day when you sent in your paperwork, at the same time you took the same paperwork to your bank, have the notary read it, wrap tape around it, seal it and stamp it, then put it in the mail addressed back to you. That way if you had to go to court, the Judge would be the first one to open it, and see the date the notary stamped it. Time line has now been proven in a Court of Law.
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
Just completed another submission.

I just did another CD of 8 songs and it was under SR that cost $55.
I uploaded a folder of ZIP as they requested, but then didnt trust it and uploaded each MP3 individually too.
$55....for peace of mind? I dont know. I snap shot the screen and capture the Number of the Registration is all.
about $7 a song for now. It was kind of confusing and though with the electronic stuff, theres a reg number and submission immediately available, instead of waiting forever in the mail.

To be honest, have to file it in the "Non-Fun" folder...lol
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
Fresh after submitting- I'll share my few tips...confusion.

The first thing that stumps me every time is "do I use PA or SR?" forms when its asked. It seems either can work but this definition leans towards SR (sound recording). Like most HR doing a CD or collection of tunes under one title and wanting to save money from registering each song individually $$$$..... SR is the one per the definition for both the music&lyrics and recording.
 

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I did make an error on one submission and the USGov wanted $135 to correct a title, even though the title was on the copyright in other places; the was missing in one line.
So I asked (emailed) "could it be edited?" etc...to fill a skipped/missed line.....they said "sure for $135!".
fyi...I recommend taking your time to fill the lines out and add notes in the comments etc.
Sorry to be so slow in my reply.

Thanks for this caveat. I'll make damned sure I get it right the first time.
 
...have the notary read it, wrap tape around it, seal it and stamp it, then put it in the mail addressed back to you. That way if you had to go to court, the Judge would be the first one to open it, and see the date the notary stamped it. Time line has now been proven in a Court of Law.
HA! Thanks, Mack. I'm doing as you describe in addition to filing with the U.S. Library of Congress.

"Belt and suspenders," sez I...
 
I just did another CD of 8 songs and it was under SR that cost $55.
Is the $55 cost because it's designated a Sound Recording, rather than a typical copyright application at $35?

I uploaded a folder of ZIP as they requested, but then didnt trust it and uploaded each MP3 individually too. $55....for peace of mind. I snap shot the screen and capture the Number of the Registration is all.

There's a reg number and submission immediately available, instead of waiting forever in the mail.
Like you, I'll take a screen capture, but I'll copy each step in the application process. I trust nothing when it comes to online transactions, except maybe Murphy's Law... :D
 
So before I pull the trigger, the following is my understanding of the consensus among you all (and THANKS for your helpful contributions):

1. At the time of online registration I will receive a registration number / submission number.

2. That number is all the protection I need, so I can go ahead and publicize the song from that moment on.

3. I will receive a hardcopy paper confirmation in the mail, but probably not until months after I submit the copyright application online.

Puh-leeze tell me if I'm wrong.
 
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mjbphotos

What?!?
Yes (to all 3 questions).
But note to the lastest thing I found out about 'SR' copyrighting - if you publicly release a physical copy of the SR, the LofC will require actual copies (2) - wait until they contact you to about this, though. They never used to require this.
 
Yes (to all 3 questions).
But note to the lastest thing I found out about 'SR' copyrighting - if you publicly release a physical copy of the SR, the LofC will require actual copies (2) - wait until they contact you to about this, though. They never used to require this.
Thanks for your comments above. I remain confused about SR vs. PA, and since you've been studying up maybe you can clarify this:

1. I'm a songwriter, so I want the standard PA protection.

2. I expect to sell recording rights to other artists.

3. BUT...I will make a full-blown audio recording myself,

4. And will also upload a less-involved performance video to YouTube.

My audio and video recordings are not likely to be "money makers" (though you never can tell...) so do I need to file form SR or just PA?

Thank you, mjbphotos and/or whoever answers this.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
PA = Performing Arts works. IF this is a single song, then you can use the form PA< but if this is a collection of songs and you want each to be copyrighted, you need to use form SR.
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
PA = Performing Arts works. IF this is a single song, then you can use the form PA< but if this is a collection of songs and you want each to be copyrighted, you need to use form SR.

this is exactly right. picture from the actual gov regist site.
you have to click on this pic to enlarge it but it says things pretty straight forward.
 

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CoolCat

Well-known member
Its interesting, so I did a search of the Copyrights....using Paul McCartney as name.,

Ebony and Ivory was done as a PA and then the performance with Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney was under SR,
other artists will do their arrangement using the PA.

So Im thinking the "SR" is getting the actual song locked in but also your personal version of it....maybe the PA is more like "heres the song words and music"" and people can do their own version of it and copy right that version/arrangement?
 

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musicturtle

New member
Fresh after submitting- I'll share my few tips...confusion.

The first thing that stumps me every time is "do I use PA or SR?" forms when its asked. It seems either can work but this definition leans towards SR (sound recording). Like most HR doing a CD or collection of tunes under one title and wanting to save money from registering each song individually $$$$..... SR is the one per the definition for both the music&lyrics and recording.

Yes the PA is what I do most times with a guitar/vocal when really just worried about the publishing for the song. When the recording is going to be sold as is for downloading, jingle, etc. I use SR. That way when some rapper wants to sample my awesome guitar riff, I can get mine :laughings:
 
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