In most cases, the person who creates the work will automatically become its copyright owner—there’s no need to register anything. So if you write some amazing lyrics, come up with some equally cool music and write out the chords or actually annotate the sheet music, then record yourself singing and playing the song on a guitar, congratulations! You now own the following:
- The literary copyright — because you wrote out the song lyrics, sheet music or chord patterns
- The musical copyright — when you played the song
- The sound recording copyright — as you recorded what you played and sung.
Of course, there can be some exceptions to this ownership rule. For instance, if you’re employed to be a creator, then the person who employed you may own the copyright to any works you create for them.
In general, copyright owners have the exclusive right to do the following:
- Reproduce/copy the work
- Perform or otherwise communicate the work to the public
- Make an adaptation of the work
- Synchronise the work with video or graphics
“Exclusive rights” means that the only person in the world who’s allowed to copy, perform, communicate, synchronise or adapt the work is the copyright owner. However, copyright owners can grant licences or create contractual agreements to allow others to copy, perform, communicate, synchronise or adapt the work, or to authorise other people to do so.
You can read more about our Copyright policies here.