Copyright Registration for Songs and Music Albums
What you'll learn
- Save hundreds of dollars, possible over a thousand dollars, on copyright registrations
- Ensure you are using the correct form to register your copyright so your application is not delayed or rejected
- Ensure you are sending the correct deposit, in the correct form, in the correct way
- Avoid common mistakes than can hold a registration up for months or even years
- Understand the meanings of key terms like "derivative work," "publication," "work made for hire," "collective work," and "best edition"
- Complete a US copyright application to register claims in music, sound recordings, or both
- Complete a US copyright application to register a claim in an entire album of music or sound recordings
- An interest in protecting copyrights in music and/or sound recordings
Taught by a copyright attorney, this no-fluff, no-nonsense course is for people who already know they want to register copyrights in music, recordings, or both, in the United States and just want to understand how to do it correctly.
If you are looking for an exposition of the history and development of copyright law, an in-depth analysis of substantive copyright law, and relentless pitches to persuade you of the need to register your copyrights, then this is not the course for you. The material is presented on the assumption that you already understand that the copyrights in songs and recordings are potentially very valuable and why you should register the copyrights in your music.
The first part of the course provides information about the registration process and the meanings of critical terms you will need to know, Key concepts such as derivative work, work made for hire, publication, and best edition are explained in just enough detail to enable the average person to understand how to complete an application. The specific requirements the U.S. Copyright Office has established for deposit copies of music and sound recordings are laid out. You will also learn about the various options that are available for registering copyrights in music and sound recordings, including the new (in 2021) GRAM application for registering music albums.
The second part of the course takes you to the U.S. Copyright Office website, where I will walk you through the application process step-by-step. beginning with the Single Application for one work by one author, proceeding through the Standard application, the GRUW (group of unpublished works) application, the GRAM application for music (group of published musical works on an album), and the GRAM application for sound recordings. It concludes with a brief discussion of collective work registration - the advantages, disadvantages, and potential pitfalls. Eligibility and deposit requirements for each kind of application are provided.
Part 3 describes what happens, or can happen, after you file. Here you will learn how long you can expect to wait, how long you have to respond if the Copyright Office contacts you about your application, how you can challenge a denial of registration, and some things to consider before you do.
Note that the U.S. Copyright Office's processing times, particularly for paper applications and applications with physical deposits, have been slowed considerably as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also note that the Music Modernization Act goes into effect in 2021. This changes the procedure for obtaining compulsory licenses to make and distribute copies of a song digitally online. The NOI procedure for obtaining a compulsory license to make and distribute physical copies (e.g., CD-ROM or vinyl) remains as described in Lecture 22.
Who this course is for:
- Musicians and recording artists
- Recording companies
- Music publishers
- Copyright owners
- Attorneys and agents
Thomas James (more formally, Thomas B. James; less formally, Tom James) is the founder and owner of the Law Office of Tom James in Cokato, Minnesota. He is also the founder of Echion CLE, an online, nonprofit, legal education provider. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Southwestern University, Thomas James is admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Minnesota state and federal courts. He is also admitted to practice before the Trademark Trials and Appeals Board (TTAB).
Attorney Thomas James has been practicing law for over 25 years. He has represented clients in copyright, trademark, business, nonprofit organization, and appellate cases. In his spare time, he is a LegalCORPS lawyer providing legal advice and assistance to small businesses, nonprofits and startups. Professional memberships include the American Bar Association, the Minnesota State Bar Association, and others.
The author of E-Commerce Law: The Legal Compliance Handbook for Online Business, Website Law, The History of Custody Law, and other books, Thomas James Minnesota attorney has also written numerous law review articles on copyright, business and other topics. Recent examples include “Copyright Enforcement: Time to Abolish the Pre-Litigation Registration Requirement,” Illinois Law Review (2019); “Protecting Copyrights in Professional and Academic Writing” (Pulse, 2020); “Use Tax Nexus: The Illusory Utility of Volume Thresholds,” Sales Tax Notes (2019), “Sales and Use Tax Nexus: The Way Forward for Legislation,” Mitchell-Hamline Law Journal of Public Policy & Practice (2020), and an Avvo Legal Guide to Starting a Business and 10 Key Points to Cover in an Employment Contract. Cokato attorney Tom James is "The Cokato Copyright Attorney," which is alto the name of a blog he maintains which features news and commentary on developments in copyright and trademark law.
Minnesota attorney Thomas James also provides continuing legal education to attorneys and other legal professionals.