If you have already composed a few songs, some musical works or you have even finished recording an album (or a demo) and you are going to present them, be it a show, a contest, upload to social networks, or show an agent or promoter musical, the ideal is to register your songs. This allows us to avoid possible inconveniences or evils such as stealing the authorship of the song or plagiarism, also opens the door to other benefits such as collecting royalties.
Registering a song is a recommended process whenever we are going to publish a work. On the other hand, we can also “reserve” a work, or in the jargon, put in custody, this is useful for those cases where we have a song or musical work not yet published or published, but in which we are working for its publication. For example, if you are a composer looking for an interpreter for your song.
How to register and declare a musical work?
To begin, it is necessary to clarify that there are two procedures that must be performed , usually before different entities. On the one hand, the intellectual property of the works, that is, the authorship, must be registered with the body in charge of intellectual property ( consult according to your country ). The second procedure is required for the collection of royalties as well as for the execution of copyright.
Steps to record a song
1) Institution: The first thing we need to know is which of the management body responsible for the registration of copyright and intellectual property rights: consult according to your country .
2) Method to register: Each country has its method and its regulation. The important thing is that some allow online registration, so we can do it from home, others only by mail and others in person at any of the offices of the institution.
3) Types of registration forms of the work: It is important to know the different options to register a song, for example a) as unpublished work, or b) as published / recorded work. Each one guarantees different rights. We must know which is best suited to our needs.
For example, there are different ways to register a song or music , in general you can register in different ways:
– lyrics (only text)
– songs (music and lyrics)
– music (only the musical work).
There are also different ways to record either
– a single work (a song, a symphony, a letter) separately, a title by record
– an album (set of works)
According to the type of works:
– Unpublished Work: Generally they are given in temporary custody, are those works that were not edited, published or exhibited, under any means.
– Published Works: Those works that were recorded, published or exhibited in public.
This may depend on rules and requirements of each country.
At this point, it is important to know the duration of the registration, and if we must renew it after a certain time.
4) Number of works to be recorded: The ideal is to know how many songs we want to register and how. Different offices allow different methods, in general, you can register a single title per procedure or a set of songs (album) per procedure.
5) Requirements: It is important to know the requirements necessary to register the work. In some institutions, for example: the registration is personal (the author must be the one who requests it) in other cases it is impersonal, the necessary papers (for example documents) and the different data and requirements (for example, number of copies, sealed envelopes) , publication of edicts). Everything depends on the institution of each country.
6) Rate: According to the type of registration and the quantity of works, the cost will be. All agencies charge a fee for processing. Of course, when recording each song individually, the total cost is higher.
7) Renewal and delays: It is important to find out how long it takes the process, and depending on it, and if we must renew it, for example a work in custody.
8) Management of copyright and its work: In case of commercial exploitation we must register in the collective management organization, generally called «Society of authors and composers», to consult the organization of your country ). These organizations are responsible for managing the rights of the author and the derived royalties produced by the work. This registration allows us to collect royalties from our work, if it is publicly reproduced, by any means.
For them we must register as partners in the entity and have declared the works this institution.
It is important to know that in some of these institutions, we must have previously registered the works as intellectual property, while other societies make the registration as intellectual property and the declaration of the work.
Why register a song?
Recognition and security
The work that enters the copyright registry, acquires, through the administrative act that signifies its admission, certainty of its existence on a certain date, its title, its author, translator and content. If it is a contract, certainty of date, content and contracting parties.
Proof of authorship
You do not become an author, it is only a presumption of authorship granted by the State, with a certain date of registration of the work.
Elements of comparison
The registration of the work serves as a comparison element in cases of plagiarism and piracy. In this case, the copy of the deposited work is sent to the Judicial Power for its evaluation.
Protection of the user in good faith
The author is presumed to be the person who appears as such in the registration certificate, unless the contrary is proven. The publisher or producer who published the work would be exempted from criminal liability, in the event that the true author claims his rights.
In order to identify the song nationally and internationally, it is assigned a unique code called ISWC (International Standard Musical Work Code)
Where are the songs recorded?
To register a work you must proceed to the body that is in charge of registering the intellectual properties in your country. Each institution has its own method and forms, so it is advisable to inquire about the requirements. Some allow online procedures, while in others it is a face-to-face procedure.