Any original idea that changes into a tangible form becomes copyrightable. Its author then has the right and authority to own his creation. This goes for any work in the field of art, literature, design or research and also music. Any music composed should be written down every minute from the creation of its first note to the point where lyrics are completed and the song is sung. Though all this music is to entertain people, it should still be kept safe from infringers.
Many music composers are reluctant to share their work because they fear their song might be unlawfully copied. But if a song is registered it gets protected against plagiarism. As soon as a work is put down in a tangible form on paper, disk or computer file, it is copyrighted but registering it is a whole new process.
The United States Copyright Office states “Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of ‘original works of authorship’….. It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of the copyright.” the US Copyright office has all these rights on its site and explains in three steps how to secure the copyright of a sound recording. The whole process takes six months and a registration fee of $45.
The US Copyright Office method takes a good amount of money and time but another cheaper, easier and quicker way is the “poor man’s copyright”. The owner mails himself a copy of his work and leaves the envelope unopened. This work is opened only when the owner has to prove his authority in the court against an alleged work or an infringement. But this method is doubted by the legal authorities because deception is very easy in this method. The owner can even mail himself an unsealed envelope hence change as much content as he wants to. Therefore this method of copyright is not as reliable as the US Copyright Office method.
A new form of “poor man’s copyright” is posting your song recording or lyrics to websites as . But these websites came up with no information on their back up therefore, they are not as reliable either.
Don Pass man, a music business attorney and author says, “You don’t need to register the copyright in Washington, but it is a nice piece of evidence. If someone claims he wrote the song on such-and-such date, and you can prove you wrote it before that; then it helps.”