The Dean’s List published an item last week linking to the Fulbright & Jaworski website which noted that on March 28th the U.S. Copyright Office announced a proposal to increase the fee to register copyrights digitally from the current $35 to $65, an 85% increase. The first question is should you register your copyrights? There is no legal requirement to register your copyrights and you can assert ownership many other ways. For example you can mail a letter to yourself and not open it and use the postmark as proof or go to a notary and get your written song notarized with a date. Despite the lack of a copyright registration requirement, A2IM advises our members that you should register your copyrights. The primary reason to register is if you need to prove ownership in litigation, especially against unauthorized music services infringing upon the work of your label’s artists. Without copyright registration, a music label or artist will have no standing with the courts and will be unable to sue for statutory damages until the copyright is registered and then the damages will only be for prospective infringements. Another reason would be the pending changes at the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the rights to Pre-1972 Copyrights which we reported to you earlier this year. The pre-1972 copyrights proposal is basically a ‘use it or lose it” situation where you need to keep your music “publicly available” to keep copyright protection thru 2067 (easy enough in the digital age) with a transition period of six to ten years to ensure all materials are available. The onerous part of this might be the initial; and potential renewal, copyright office registration process. A2IM will file with the US Copyright Office against enacting this proposed price increase which will cause a financial hardship upon our community. But before this potential rates increase occurs, maybe you should get an intern in to register the copyrights for your key tracks, especially any pre-1972 copyrights, as a good business practice. Register your song with the U.S. Copyright Office for $35 today.