Home › Forums › Copyright Questions › New Copyright Rules for “Group of Unpublished Works”
- This topic has 11 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 month, 1 week ago by Art Munson.
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?
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 As of March 15, 2019, you can no longer register songs as an “unpublished collection”. Under the previous rules you could in theory register as many unpublished tracks as the upload limit allowed. Under the new rules, you can only register ten unpublished works as a “Group of Unpublished Works.”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 Unpublished means unpublished.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 For more details read here: https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/group-unpublished/
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….
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?ORPMParticipant
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?Art MunsonKeymaster
So how much would it cost to register 100 songs with them?
$850 in groups of 10 at $85 for each group. Every piece of music must have the same writer(s) in each group.
So how much would it cost to register 100 songs with them? Am I seeing right its “group of unpublished works” which allows only 10 songs and is 85$ 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?ORPMParticipant
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.RobbGuest
Is it true that’s its better to register each unpublished work individually, to get full benefits in case someone does infringe it?
I hear if you register 10 songs, and maybe 2 or 3 get infringed (by one person), or all, you can only seek damages once, not for each song individually.
Also to sell the rights of the song – if you only want to sell 1 song, you have to sell the whole catalog of 10 songs that includes that one song.
Or does that just apply to the masters?
(From what I understand, I have to register each composition as an unpublished work (as individual for max protection(?)) then each master sound recording individually (for max protection and simplicity for selling rights in future)
Trying to figure this out
Under the old group registration system, all ten track were registered under a single registration number. My understanding is that under the new system, each track is given its own registration number, which should provide more flexibility going forward, with respect to infringement claims and selling individual tracks.Brian CurtinGuest
Group Registration of Works on an Album of Music (GRAM)
This option mentions registration for up to twenty musical works or twenty sound recordings contained in an album, if the works are created by the same author or have at least one common author and if the claimant for each work in the group is the same.
Instructions for completing the applications:
Be careful with this one. “Group Registration of Works on an Album of Music (GRAM)” is distinguishable from “Group Registration of Unpublished Works (GRUW),” and may not be the best option for library composers who are either shopping tracks to libraries or self-publishing and distributing via online libraries.
For example, check out the potential limitations with respect to registering sound recordings and the underlying music works, as outlined here in the FAQ.
I’ll reach out to the USCO for some clarification.Art MunsonKeymaster
What confuses me is the definition of “published”. If I release music through our publishing company and record label, isn’t that considered published? Seems a bit murky the way the Copyright Office explains it.