Copyright-registration-500x333Every few years, the U.S. Copyright Office does a detailed study on its fees in an attempt to determine whether they need adjusting. In their latest audit, the office decided it was time to raise its rates by about $10 for most electronic filings.

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Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

The fee for official copyright registration is about to go up. Every three to five years, the U.S. Copyright Office does an in-depth study of its fees to determine whether to adjust them, then sends its results to Congress, which then has 120 days to do nothing (meaning approval) or pass a law disapproving the price recommendations.

The Office is now proposing raising the fee for the Standard Application from $55 to $65, which is $10 less than the 2018 proposal. Similarly, the Single Application (the lower-priced option for single works by individual authors) will go from $35 to $45, which is also $10 less than the 2018 proposal.

Here’s the proposal as it pertains to music:

REGISTRATION TYPE CURRENT PRICE PROPOSED PRICE
Single work (electronic filing) $35 $45
Single work (paper filing) $85 $125
Group of works (album – electronic filing only) $55 $65

Remember that you don’t have to file a registration with the Copyright Office. Once you publish a work anywhere online it’s automatically copyrighted. You do have to register in order to file a claim with the Copyright Office as proposed by the CASE Act (copyright small claims) however.

Copyright registration is a matter of time-stamping your work in order to verify that you created it first, so it’s not something that you can really do at a later date and have it mean anything. That’s why it’s always a balancing act between filing and not filing for most songwriters and artists. Many are not willing to spend the time and money involved.

But if a timestamp of your creation is all that’s necessary, you’ll have that from almost everywhere online that it’s posted automatically. Still, the safest way is still with a formal registration from the Copyright Office.

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