New Copyright Rules for “Group of Unpublished Works”

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  • #32812 Reply
    angopop
    Participant

    I noticed that the Copyright Office just changed their rules. I used to copyright all my new tracks under a ‘collection’, but now you can only copyright up to ten songs at a time.

    I was wondering if people here copyrighted each song individually, or as a group of (now) ten songs, and why ( I remember reading that copyrighting each song individually is stronger, but more expensive)?. Or can you do something else these days?

    Thanks

    #32813 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    The US Copyright Office changed the rules earlier this year. As of March 15, 2019, you can no longer register songs as an “unpublished collection”. Under the previous rules you could in theory register as many unpublished tracks as the upload limit allowed. Under the new rules, you can only register ten unpublished works as a “Group of Unpublished Works.”

    Under the old rules everything was registered under a single registration number. That meant that you really could not effectively split tracks under that registration among different publishers if you were transferring the copyright. Also, in the event that your works were infringed upon you could only seek damages for one work, no matter how many were infringed on, because everything was under a single registration number.

    I have been told by the Copyright Office that under the new Group Registration system each work will be independent and have its own registration number. The caveat here is that timing and procedure are critical. Unpublished means unpublished. You need to register your tracks before you upload them to any sites and offer them for sale to the public. If you publish first, your registration could be invalid. Timing is critical as it impacts the amount of damages that you can collect and the ability to collect for your legal fees.

    NOTE: Group Registration is not available in all circumstances. “To qualify for this option, all the works must be created by the same author or the same joint authors, and the author or joint authors must be named as the copyright claimant for each work.” For more details read here: https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/group-unpublished/

    #32814 Reply
    angopop
    Participant

    Thank you, MichaelL, very informative and clear.

    Each song having it’s own registration number seems like a good idea.

    Even though it will cost more as I can submit less songs, it seems like we get a bit more protection if each song is registered separately….

    #32815 Reply
    angopop
    Participant

    It seem odd that you can’t name the collection anymore. I used to name my copyright submissions “My Name Collection #1”, etc…

    Now it automatically names it after your first song title then adds “…and 9 Other Unpublished Works”.

    Any idea why that is and what advantage that has?

    #35738 Reply
    ORPM
    Participant

    So how much would it cost to register 100 songs with them? Am I seeing right its “group of unpublished works” which allows only 10 songs and is 85$ a pop? Does this mean 850$ for 100 songs? or 6000$ for my 500 songs?

    #35740 Reply
    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    So how much would it cost to register 100 songs with them?

    $850 in groups of 10 at $85 for each group. Every piece of music must have the same writer(s) in each group.

    #35744 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    So how much would it cost to register 100 songs with them? Am I seeing right its “group of unpublished works” which allows only 10 songs and is 85$ a pop? Does this mean 850$ for 100 songs? or 6000$ for my 500 songs?

    As Art said, $85 for an unpublished group of 10 songs, so $850 for 100, and $4,250 for 500 songs. Also, as Art said, if you have cowriters they must be the same for all 10 songs. If you have uploaded your songs and offered them for sale, they have been published and group registration is not available. You would then need to register each song individually. The current fee is $65, so $32,500 for 500 songs!

    It appears that you are from Denmark. Why do you want to register your works with the US Copyright Office? Why not enforce your copyrights through Denmark’s legal system and/or the CJEU?

    #35753 Reply
    ORPM
    Participant

    No I am from Germany and had registered some albums with copyright.gov looong time ago only to find myself invited to a class action suit against spotify 2 years ago BECAUSE they were registered there. No such suits are possible in Germany and I got a nice sum out of the case, so I was thinking to register more since my music is in some US libraries now.

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