Proving your copyright for a song

Proving your copyright for a song

Feb 16

In a bold and interesting move, international singing sensation Taylor Swift has recently applied to trademark certain phrases from her songs in her 1989 album to avoid them from being used on merchandises without authorization. Among these lines were “This sick beat,” “Cause we never go out of style,” Nice to meet you, where you been?,” “Party like it’s 1989,” and “Could show you incredible things.” In this day and age where piracy is pretty much common and people can just use someone else’s lyrics without permission to make their apparels marketable, Swift’s action in protecting her intellectual property seems timely and clever.

According to the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., there are a lot of ways on how you can secure copyright of your original composition. One old school way is to seal your composition in an envelope and send it to yourself via mail. A sealed, unopened envelope with a date in it could prove that you have written your song before the date indicated in the package. Due to its practicality (sending yourself a package doesn’t cost much money and effort), many people have been doing this to establish copyright. But although this method of protecting your intellectual property could be effective, there have been some cases wherein the evidence falls short in court.

Another easy way to establish ownership of a lyric or a song is to have some good witnesses that are willing to testify that you own the composition. It can be your friend, your colleague, a family member, pretty much anyone that have actually heard you sing or play your lyrics and are willing to stand as a witness in an event of a copyright hearing.

Finally, you can protect your work by registering your song in any of the copyright offices in your respective country or jurisdiction. In the U.S., for instance, the United States Copyright Office accepts copyright applications, but for certain fees.