Monday, February 14, 2011

How do I register sound recording and songwriting copyright?

Dear Rich, I recently recorded a CD with my fiance and am trying to figure out how many applications I should submit to the copyright office. Here's a breakdown of contributions for this CD/project... I wrote all 10 songs (music and lyrics), except one which was written with my fiance. I recorded/arranged/mixed most of the music. Vocals and another instrument (performed by my fiance), were recorded at her father's studio. Her father mixed the tracks (that I had put together) with these additional recordings (vocals, etc.), then he mastered the CD. So, should I submit one application for music and lyrics for songs 1 - 9 (for myself), another application for the 10th song (my fiance and I), then a third for the sound recording including all three of us? Wow, with all the turmoil and terror in the world, the Dear Rich Staff is so happy to answer a question from some kissing musicians on Valentine's Day.
Right, you had a question. You need only submit two applications, one for the songwriting (musical composition/performing arts) and the other for the recording (sound recording). We think that the Form CO is easiest and here's a video explaining how to fill it out for your songs. You're allowed to list songs by more than one writer on a single form provided that one writer is the same for all of the songs. Here's a circular about registering musical compositions. Next, you would use a Form CO and claim sound recording copyright (here's a circular). Although we didn't think it applies in your case, you can use just one Form CO for everything if the same person owns the copyright in the songs and the sound recording. This could happen, for example, if your fiance and her father assigned you their rights in the sound recording. We hope your wedding plans work out and speaking of V-Day, have you seen this patent application?