Copyright means exactly what its name implies; the right to copy, or to make copies of a work. Before you even get to this stage, the songwriters, or band members should have a working agreement in writing about ownership shares of the songs that they have produced. This way, who owns what share percentage is already worked out in advance. Otherwise the law assumes that the songs are broken down equally among members. For ease of this article we will assume that there is one songwriter. You could also look at it as the songwriters have given their songwriting rights to a corporate entity that they have formed (your band is a business after all). If you need further help with forming a business entity, consult the appropriate attorney. Legal Zoom and other websites also provide self-help legal advice and business set-up for a fee.
Once you have your song finished in its final form, you should go to the Library of Congress website: www.loc.gov (US, for other countries consult a copyright attorney) and go to the copyright tab. You can submit the form in paper, or electronically. The Library of Congress website even has a tutorial on how to fill out the form(s). The fees tend to change, so please look at the website for the most up-to-date fee. The special handling fee of $800 applies to expedited applications, and should not apply to you. The fee currently is well under $100 and varies on which application form you fill out. A walk through the electronic tutorial is recommended and will help you fill out the form correctly.
After the normal processing time, you will have full protected registered work(s). If you have any further music management questions please email: 3RAMusicConsulting@gmail.com. We would love to hear your success stories!