By Randi Reed
Think mailing yourself a copy of your songs secures proof of your copyright ? Think again.
Mailing yourself a copy of your songs is not valid legal protection against copyright infringement.
Although technically a “copyright” takes place the moment the songs are created, mailing your songs to yourself unopened–sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright”–provides absolutely no protection in the event of a lawsuit.
In fact, according to several entertainment attorneys we spoke with, if you have not registered your copyright with the US Copyright Office and are sued for infringement or want to sue someone for violating your copyright , no court will hear your case.
So, in order to protect and enforce your copyright if someone tries to steal your songs or sue you for infringement, you must register your songs with the US Copyright Office. In the Court’s eyes, if you haven’t bothered to register the copyright with the US Library of Congress Copyright Office it’s just not worth their time.
Forms and information are available at the US Copyright Office. (We especially like Circulars 50 and 56.) If you need help deciding which forms you need, talk with an Information Specialist at (202) 707-3000. You can also register your copyrights online at Copyright.gov at a reduced fee.