A copyright is secured automatically when the work is created,
and a work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or
phonorecord for the first time (generally known as a "common law copyright"). “Copies” are material objects
from which a work can be read or visually perceived either
directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books
manuscripts, sheet music
, film, videotape, or microfilm.
“Phonorecords” are material objects embodying fixations of
sounds (excluding, by statutory definition, motion picture
soundtracks), such as cassette tapes, CDs, or vinyl disks.
Thus, for example, a song (the “work”) can be fixed in sheet
music (“copies”) or in phonograph disks (“phonorecords”),
or both. If a work is prepared over a period of time, the part
of the work that is fixed on a particular date constitutes the
created work as of that date.
With your situation, you may want to register the copy right with the US Copyright Office.
In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended
to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright.
However, registration is not a condition of copyright
protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for
protection, the copyright law provides several inducements
or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration.
Among these advantages are the following:
• Registration establishes a public record of the copyright
• Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration
is necessary for works of U. S. origin.
• If made before or within five years of publication, registration
will establish prima facie evidence in court of
the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in
• If registration is made within three months after publication
of the work or prior to an infringement of the work,
statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to
the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an
award of actual damages and profits is available to the
• Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record
the registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection
against the importation of infringing copies.
If you want to do this, you should search for an intellectual property attorney in your area at www.martindale.com