Should I Copyright My Music before putting it on YouTube?
No, you don’t have to register for copyright protection with your country’s Trademark/Copyright Office before you upload your music to YouTube. In the US and most other countries, all musical creations are automatically copyrighted once they have been fixed in any tangible medium (e.g. a piece of paper, a recording, or computer file, etc.).
Do you have a song that you want to share with the world? You may be wondering if it’s worth protecting your music by copyrighting it before uploading it to YouTube.
Read on to find out more about this topic and learn why you may need copyright registration.
Should You Copyright Your Music Before Uploading to YouTube?
You do not have to copyright your music before you upload it to YouTube. According to the US Copyright Law, all musical compositions are automatically copyrighted the moment they have been recorded in a tangible medium.
So once you have your song ready, you can always upload it to YouTube as long as it is an original creation and doesn’t infringe on any other’s copyrights.
YouTube only cares about the originality of any musical creation uploaded to its site. So if you’re worried about someone stealing your music and uploading it to YouTube, don’t be.
It’s already copyrighted, and no one can do anything about it until they purchase the copyright from you.
YouTube scans all songs uploaded to their database to make sure they are not infringing on another’s copyrights. If they find anything that is copyrighted by someone else, the video will be taken down immediately, and you may receive a copyright infringement notice from YouTube should you decide to contest it.
However, it is still a good idea to copyright your music in order to protect the rights of its own and determine who gets paid if someone wants to license or purchase copies of your songs for commercial use such as in TV shows, commercials, films, etc. Another benefit of having your songs copyrighted would be that you can sue anyone who uses your copyrighted music without permission.
In most other countries, you will need to register your work with their Trademark/Copyright Office before you can claim any legal rights against infringement when you sue someone for using your copyrighted music without permission. So keep this in mind before you decide to upload any of your original work on YouTube.
So, Should I Register My Copyrighted Music?
This is perhaps the most important question here. It depends really on how serious you are about protecting the rights of its own and determining who gets paid if someone wants to license or purchase copies of your songs for commercial use such as in TV shows, commercials, films, etc.
If you’re not really keen on protecting your music from infringement and want to put it out there for all the world to see without worrying about people stealing your work or getting into any legal trouble with other copyright owners, then perhaps it’s best that you don’t register a copyright of your musical work with your country’s Trademark/Copyright Office.
As noted earlier, registering your copyrighted music will come in handy when you, for instance, want to sue someone for copyright infringement so they can pay you the royalties they accumulated from using your copyrighted work.
Copyright registration is not a complicated process and can be done through the Trademark/Copyright Office of any country should you want to make sure that no one violates your rights as an original music creator.
How Do You Copyright a Song?
In order to copyright a song, it must be original, and the owner of the copyrights should fix the creation in a tangible medium. As explained earlier, this means having the song written down on paper, recorded in a computer file, taped on a cassette, etc.
The copyright will belong to anyone who fixes their musical work in either audio or video format.
How Do I Register My Copyrighted Music?
To register your copyrighted music, you will need to visit your country/state’s Trademark/Copyright Office. They will often require you to give them a copy of the creation that you wish to register, so make sure that it is in a format that can be played on their equipment.
Once the song has been registered, you will receive an official certificate to prove its ownership and registration with your country’s Trademark/Copyright Office. The cost of registering your copyrighted music varies from place to place.
How does YouTube prevent copyright infringement?
YouTube uses a Content ID System to scan all songs uploaded to their database to make sure they are not infringing on another’s copyrights.
If they find anything that is copyrighted by someone else, the video will be taken down immediately, and you may receive a copyright infringement notice from YouTube should you decide to contest it.
How do I register my songs with the US Copyright Office?
To register your copyrighted songs with the US Copyright Office, you will need to submit Form PA. To fill out this form by hand, it can take up to 45 minutes per song, and if done via computer would only take 15 minutes per song.
You may also want to consider getting help from an attorney or someone who has experience in copyright registrations as they are better versed with the requirements for submitting a copyrighted song.
To register your songs, you will also need to provide two complete copies of each song in either audio or video format and payment in full before they can be accepted by their office. This means that if you only have one CD/DVD, then this would amount to two separate submissions as it is not enough to simply send them one copy of your song since they will not be able to register it.
You may also choose to have a third party handle the submission process for you should you find this procedure too complicated, costly, or time-consuming. However, even if you get someone else to do all the paperwork and submissions on your behalf, still pay the full fee as registering your song with the US Copyright Office is not free.
How long does it take to register my copyrighted music?
It takes around three months for the US Copyright Office to process your song, and they will only do so once you have paid in full. You may also want to keep in mind that waiting too much longer than this timeframe could mean losing out on some of the benefits associated with registering a copyright.
Can I use copyrighted music on YouTube?
No, you cannot use copyrighted music on YouTube without getting permission from the copyright owner. There are, however, a lot of royalty-free music platforms you can use. StreamLofi is one such platform offering a range of songs for free. You can download their music from YouTube and Spotify.
While you do not need to copyright your music before uploading it to YouTube, it may be a good idea to do so anyway. This is especially true if your songs are extremely popular and you would like to earn some money from them through ad revenue, selling your CDs/DVDs, and other means.
Next, feel free to check out this article answering the question if you can use 10 seconds of a copyrighted song?
Keep in mind this is not legal advice if you have any questions you should reach out to an attorney of law. I am simply a YouTuber of over 5 years and have been through this process many times.
There may be some affiliate links in this article and if you make a purchase I may receive a small kickback from it. Thank you.