Monday, August 23, 2010

Registering Copyright for Beats and Instrumentals

Dear Rich: I saw your video on registering song copyrights and I have a few questions to ask. I'm a music producer and I'm trying to get my beats/instrumentals copyrighted. 1. What form should I fill out SR or PA? 2.The form has a section where it asks for a serial Issue (ISSN) is this needed or optional? 3. I'm trying to copyright a set of beats, I heard that you can fill it out as a collection so that you are paying for the price of one instead of separate, so where on the form do I verify that it is a collection and not one beat? 4. Besides the CO form, money, and a CD of my beats, is there anything else I'm supposed to send or is that it? Hope you can answer my questions and I might have more questions to ask you in the future.  We know you're busy constructing those inverted snares and sub-auditory bass notes, so okay, maybe you didn't have time to check out the video in its entirety (where most of the answers can be found). In any case, we'll walk you through it here. 
Beats as compositions. The video explains how to register a musical composition. Do your beats qualify as musical compositions? Although there have been some cases in which the basic copyrightability of bass patterns or drum patterns has been questioned, we're going to operate under the principle that your "beats/instrumentals" are protected as musical compositions (and you should, too). So you would choose "performing arts work" in Section 1, Work Being Registered. 
SR or PA? Form SR is a paper form for sound recordings. Form PA is a paper form for musical compositions. As the video explains, you can learn about the difference here. As the video also explains, we recommend use of the FORM CO instead of either SR or PA forms, as Form CO costs less to file and is easier to use than the old paper forms. You can also save money by filing electronically using the eCo system
ISSN? As the video also explains, the ISSN is not relevant to musical compositions. Leave it (Section 1c) blank. 
Collections of beats/instrumentals. Under certain conditions, you can register a collection of your compositions. They must be unpublished (you haven't distributed them to the public) and they must meet the following conditions: the tracks are assembled in an orderly fashion on your CD, the CD has a single title identifying the collection as a whole (for example, "My Miraculous Beats"), and one person (you) is claiming copyright in all the compositions (or, if they are by different authors, at least one of the authors (again, you) has co-written all of the stuff. If all of these elements are met, and they probably are if you created all of the compositions yourself and you haven't sold them yet, simply include additional title(s) by clicking the "additional title" button as you enter each composition into the form.
What else? Yes, you only need submit your CD, the copyright form and the fee. If you file electronically using the eCo system, the fee and form are all submitted electronically. In some cases, you can upload your deposit materials; in other cases, you must mail it in. Each form explains the rules and procedures. Thanks for watching the video ... or at least for mentioning it in your letter.