3 Major Benefits You Only Get Through Copyright Registration

When you think about the creative process behind making music, something like remembering to register your work with the US Copyright Office might not always come to mind first. For creators, it probably doesn’t seem nearly as important as nailing the right lyric or producing that perfect pitch. After all, you do technically own the copyrights once your work is in a tangible form, like a sheet of music or digital file. That’s why so many tend to completely over look registration altogether.

Believe it or not, taking the time to register your work with the US Copyright Office can sometimes be one of the most important steps for your work and its creative journey. There are a few crucial benefits you can only get by going through the copyright registration procedure. Read on and discover what those exclusive benefits are.  

1. Protection from infringement

By having your work registered with the US Copyright Office*, you’re taking the most important step towards protecting your work from infringement. One simple benefit is that a public record gets created of the authorship and ownership of the work, along with other key information such as the title, year of creation and first date of publication. This can be helpful to anyone looking for ownership information.

A more crucial benefit of registration is that it’s a prerequisite for filing an infringement claim, meaning you can’t take someone to court until you register the infringed work with the US Copyright Office.

If you register your work within 5 years of first publication, your registration is considered prima facie evidence in the court of law. This means you would need no other proof that you are the owner of the copyright and the burden would fall on the other party to prove otherwise.

If registered one month before the infringement began or within the first 3 months of your work’s first publication, you would not only be eligible for potential “statutory damages” (which are higher than regular damages), but also for attorney’s fees if involved in a successful litigation.

You may also register your work unpublished, if it has been completed and registered before an infringement takes place, which will guarantee the above potential benefits.

In other words, the sooner you register your work, the better.

2. Poor Man’s Copyright

The fee for a standard copyright application is $55 per song, and if you’re filing multiple applications, this fee can add up. That’s why some creators look to the Poor Man’s Copyright as an option. You may have heard of this method before, where you mail yourself the copyrighted work and leave it sealed as proof of copyright. This is better than no evidence at all, but it isn’t a substitute for copyright registration.

3. Benefits of retaining copyright ownership

Many publishers require creators to assign all or part of their copyright as part of a standard publishing agreement.  In many instances, creators lose out on royalties, as well as the freedom to do as they please with their exclusive rights of copyright ownership, which are:

  • Right to Reproduce
  • Right to Distribute
  • Right to Create Derivative Works
  • Right to Public Performance
  • Right to Public Display

Kobalt believes in the rights of the creator and we stand by that commitment, with our clients retaining 100% ownership of their copyright. We also offer our clients support and assistance with copyright registration.

For more information about copyright registration, check out the US Copyright Office’s website at

*Registration is not effective until a registration certificate is issued by the Copyright Office, which can take several months. However, the date the Copyright Office receives all required materials for registration will still be considered the official registration date

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