Establishing your ownership and registering with the U.S. Copyright Office are the only real steps you can take to protect yourself (and when things go wrong, it could pay off in big ways if you do it early enough).
See our full guide on how to copyright your music.
CD Baby is thrilled to partner with Cosynd to provide a quick, easy, and affordable way for you to register your copyrights for 80% less than similar services. As a CD Baby client, you can now register the copyright to your album, songs, videos, literature, or images at a discount rate (plus federal filing fees). You can take advantage of this discount, even if you don’t live in the U.S. Additionally, you’ll be able to create FREE customized legal documents such as split sheets, collaboration agreements, work-for-hire agreements, and producer agreements (read more below).
Don’t Wait to Register
When your content is stolen or misused, your first thought may be to take legal action. The first question you may be asked is, “Did you register with the Copyright Office?”
According to updated regulations, you must register with the U.S. Copyright Office and receive an official registration before you can file a lawsuit – and that can normally take months. That means, you may be at a loss until you actually register. Other types of registrations or mailing your music to yourself are not substitutes for USCO registration – these will not grant you the same benefits.
Early registration can grant you a large payout – up to $150,000 per infringement PLUS your legal fees, but only if you register before your music is stolen or misused.
|Registering Now||Registering After Your Music Is Stolen/Misused|
|You can file lawsuits immediately in federal court or small claims court (no attorney required).
Receive up to $150,000 PLUS attorney fees per willful infringement.
|Can’t file a lawsuit until you have received your official registration from the USCO.
(normally 3-9 months)
Receive up to $200-$30,000
per work (barely enough to cover legal fees).
Don’t live in the U.S.?
No matter where you’re based, your music travels beyond its borders. Most infringements occur in the U.S., which is why all creators around the globe should consider registering directly with the U.S. Copyright Office for substantial protections — available to most non U.S. citizens or residents. The legal documents you can create on Cosynd can also be used worldwide.
CD Baby’s partnership with Cosynd makes copyright registration simple and fast.
When you collaborate with others, you may be giving up ownership of your copyrights, without even realizing it. By default, under U.S. copyright law, each of your collaborators automatically owns an equal share of your song copyright and income, regardless of how minor or major their contribution is — unless you have a copyright ownership agreement in place.
Another benefit to our partnership is that you can create many of these legal documents for FREE. Cosynd is the only service that allows you to do all of the following:
- Create split sheets that cover all of your copyrights (sound recordings, compositions, videos, literature, etc.)
- Create enhanced legal documents like work for hire agreements, producer agreements, and collaboration agreements
- Determine which of your collaborators are authorized to license your copyrights
- Add multiple titles to your legal documents at any time
- Collaboratively negotiate with your collaborators easily and quickly
- Invite your attorney to review/edit your legal documents if you want to
- Collect real digital signatures
Why Use Cosynd?
You know how expensive, time-consuming, and confusing it can be to wade through copyright protection. Here’s how Cosynd makes it easier for you:
- ERROR PROOF – Did you know that the current U.S. Copyright Office fee to correct errors on existing registrations is $100, and that misfiled applications are non-refundable? Cosynd streamlines the process and error-proofs your applications so you can avoid making expensive mistakes.
- RELIABLE SERVICE – Thousands of creators and copyright owners from over 120 territories around the world rely on Cosynd’s integrated suite of intuitive tools to legally protect copyrights and reduce expenses.
- DO MORE, SPEND LESS – In minutes, you can complete registration applications. Beyond copyright registration, you can create, negotiate, redline, and e-sign customized legal documents with all of your collaborators. Don’t leave the protection of your content up to “fill-in-blank” templates or fake registration services.
Need a quick refresher on what copyright is?
Just like it sounds, copyright is a creator’s right to copy, profit from, distribute, or otherwise “exploit” their own works. It’s a designation of intellectual property similar to a patent or trademark.
As a musician, you own the copyright to your own songs and recordings the moment they’re set down in a fixed format (on record, on sheet music, etc. However, you won’t receive the enhanced, critical benefits like the ability to file a lawsuit unless you have registered with the U.S. Copyright Office beforehand.
It’s also important to note that the U.S. Copyright Office may add new application types and change federal filing fees. Cosynd automatically determines the correct application type and the correct federal filing fee, so you don’t have to. But for reference, you can see the current proposed changes to the copyright fees here.
Three reasons why it’s important to register your copyright:
- You can’t sue someone for infringement unless you’ve registered your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Once you DO register the copyright, you may be be entitled to $150,000 per infringement, plus legal fees if you win your suit.
- It’s a myth that simply paying someone means they cannot later claim any ownership of your copyright. If you don’t have a work-for-hire agreement in writing, other people (collaborators, producers, session players, etc.) could try to claim an ownership percentage.
- Under U.S. Copyright Law, two or more people that work together to create content can claim equal ownership shares by default, unless there is an agreement stating otherwise. So if you write MOST of the song, and someone helps you with the lyrics to a few lines, they could say their rights are equal to yours. Unless of course you put your ownership shares in writing upfront.
It’s also important to note that the cost for registering with the Copyright Office can change. Cosynd automatically determines the correct federal filing fee. But for reference, you can see the current proposed changes to the copyright fees here.
If you’re serious about your music, you should also get serious about protecting your music.
Register to copyright your song or album today!