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Should I Copyright My Music Before Putting It On YouTube?

Issues concerning copyright may be confusing for somebody that doesn’t

understand it or anybody that hasn’t read copyright law.

You don’t really need to visit the copyright office to copyright your song if you don’t want to, because according to copyright law; the moment you put your song in tangible real form (recorded or written) you get the following exclusive rights:

The right to reproduce and make copies of an original work;

The right to prepare derivative works based on the original work;

The right to distribute copies to the public by sale or another form of transfer, such as rental or lending;

The right to publicly perform the work;

The right to publicly display the work, and

The right to perform sound recordings publicly through digital audio transmission.

To safeguard your music against illegal use it is wise to register your work in order to have evidence that you own the copyright. This can help you pursue any copyright infringement matters that may arise.

Why it is important to register your song with the copyright office.

Going about uploading your music without registering it may not be entirely a good move,

this is why I wish to discuss why it is important to have your song registered.

It is recommended that you register your works with the copyright office in

order for you to have “prima facie” evidence that you were actually the first

person to create the song.

Prima Facie is a legal term which means that the other side bears

the burden of proof to prove that the work is not indeed yours.

How to register your copyright

The first method is you basically going to www.copyright.gov and registering.

Their website works fine but it has been known to not be very user friendly.

You can also use other services online to copyright your music but be aware

that most of these services will charge a fee.


You can also register your music with a PRO, which is a performing rights


A performing rights organisation sometimes referred to as a performing

rights society provides intermediary functions, royalty collection, between

copyright holders and parties who wish to use the copyrighted works.

A PRO is great if you intend to protect your music, you can simply register

your works before uploading.

Performing Rights Organisations in the US


The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a non

profit PRO protects its members musical copyrights by monitoring public

performances of their music whether a broadcast or live performance and

thereby compensating them.

Ascap collects licensing fees and then permits royalties accordingly.

It is available for people in the US and some other select countries outside the US.


Broadcast Music Inc is a US based performing rights organization.

BMI collects licensing fees from businesses that use its members music.

Many of the members of BMI create a variety of music of every genre and it

represents some of the most famous musicians in the world like

Lil Wayne, Blueface, Birdman, Lady Gaga, Taylor

Swift, Eminem, Rihanna, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Sam Cooke, Willie Nelson, 

Fats Domino and Dolly Parton; bands as diverse as Maroon 5, Evanescence, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nickelback, Linkin Park, Twenty One Pilots and Fifth Harmony.

Sound exchange

Sound exchange is a non profit collective rights organization based in the US

and designated by the US Congress to collect and distribute digital

performance royalties for sound recordings.

Content ID

Another way to make sure that your music is protected is by using content ID


It works as a PRO for YouTube.

there are a lot of content ID companies out there, but I recommend Identifyy.


Copyrighting your music before uploading it to YouTube is not a


But if you wish to register your work and have tangible evidence (besides

having the masters) that you own the song, you can go ahead and get your

work copyrighted by going to a copyright office or simply going to

www.copyright.gov if you’re in the US.

It is also wise to register with a PRO like BMI or ASCAP so that they can collect

licensing revenue on your behalf.

Furthermore, you can sign up with a content ID management company that

can act as a PRO for your YouTube and collect revenue from people using

your original work for their monetized content.

Related Articles

The 3 Music Licensing Agencies You Need To Know About

Should I copyright my music before putting it on YouTube? – Route Note

Should I Copyright My Music before putting it on YouTube? – Stream Lofi

Should I Copyright My Music Before Putting It On YouTube?

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