How copyright works in the UK
Copyright of a musical work begins automatically once a piece of music is created and documented or recorded. In the UK, this is detailed in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Copyrighting your work
There is no official method to copyright work in the UK.
However, evidence of creation and ownership can be created in a few ways.
Mailing or saving a physical copy of the work in any way that will help to establish when it was created. For example, you could send it to yourself by a recorded delivery, or store it with your bank. The work must be time stamped and remain sealed for this to provide any legal proof.
Electronic emailing or saving of the work, which will provide a time-stamped copy, is another way to evidence creation and ownership.
Sending a copy of your work to yourself by a recorded delivery is stronger evidence of copyright ownership than an electronic time stamp, because it will have your name attached to it.
Your rights as a copyright owner
As the owner of your work’s copyright, you have the sole authority to:
- copy the music
- issue, lend or rent copies to the public
- perform, show or play the music in public
- communicate the music to the public (i.e. broadcasting it via TV, radio, internet etc.)
Transferring rights and registering works
As a member of the Performing Right Society (PRS) or the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS), you give permission for us to protect your rights and collect royalties on your behalf. As a member, you are responsible for registering each work. Registration is not the same as copyrighting your work.
How copyright works in the US
Please refer to the below PDF from the US government which details the actions you should take.