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Two common questions have been raised in recent communications with clients regarding their new music albums. The first question: What is the proper Copyright Office form to use when registering a recorded song or collection of songs found on an album? When filing online one should choose "sound recording", and when filing with a paper form one should use Form SR. Form SR will provide copyright protection for the recorded performance, as well as the underlying music, whereas Form PA will protect only that particular recorded performance.

The second question: Can one copyright registration (and one fee) cover the whole album, or does each song need individual copyright protection (multiple fees)? In many cases the answer is only one copyright registration is required, with the disclosure of each band member's contribution (music, lyrics, or both) to each song. On the copyright registration form, the album name is listed as the "Title of Work Being Registered", and the individual song titles will then be listed as "Contents Title".

And don't forget copyright registration for the album cover art, which will protect not only the visual design or artwork found on front and back covers of the music album, but also the printed lyrics that may be included inside.


More information on registering recorded music is included in Copyright Office Circular 56, found here.

 

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