Last night I just couldn't sleep, so around 2am I figured as long as I'm up, I might as well do something important. Copyrights.
So how do you copyright your creative material?
Technically, you own the copyright as soon as you put an idea into a tangible, reproducible form. So when you create a painting, take a picture, or scribble words on a napkin, it is YOUR copyrighted material.
It's hard to prove that you truly created something before someone else did (especially in court) unless it's registered through the U.S. copyright office.
Some people say that you can do a "poor man's copyright" by mailing yourself a copy of your work and not opening it. I am the QUEEN of poor man's mcgyver-y methods....but this is one process that is WORTH EVERY CENT. A poor man's copyright holds up very poorly in court.
To copyright a song, it costs $35, or $55 for a collection of songs, so it makes more sense to do a load of songs at a time. Start by going to www.copyright.gov and go to the eCO office to register a copyright online. Once you get to the eCO site, create an account and login. Click "register a copyright" on the left hand side and answer the questions (yes or no) by checking the boxes. Since I wrote my songs and did all of the creative work myself, I answered "yes" on the last two questions, but because I was copyrighting a collection of songs, I clicked "no" for the first question.
This brings you to the standard application (where you want to be when copyrighting an album rather than a single). From there, begin answering all of the questions and filling out your information. When it asks for a title, name the album, not the individual songs (you'll upload those later). I just called mine "Brenna's Songs 2016" since that's when they were recorded.
After answering all of the questions, enter your payment information. After you officially pay the copyright office, you can begin submitting songs! I copyrighted 13 songs this time around...and it felt so good.
Now that I know my creative material is safe (aka if someone used it illegally I could properly fight, sue, and/or correct the problem), I am excited to put more of my work out there! Get excited for some cool YouTube videos and downloadable songs on the horizon!!
I hope all of my fellow artists that read this benefit from this post. If you'd like a video of me copyrighting material and explaining the process, please request one below in the comments section!
Best $55 I ever spent.
An artist-loving songwriter