How to run a copyright check for songs

Written by leslie howerton
How to run a copyright check for songs
Search for a song's copyright information before using it. (music image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Copyright in the United States is a form of intellectual property law designed to protect artistic works. Using songs or pirating music without the consent of the copyright holder is illegal, and it's punishable with fines ranging from £19,500 to £97,500. It costs £107 per hour with a two-hour minimum to request a search for records by the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO). Fortunately, you can search yourself for free.

Visit the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) website, copyright.gov.

Click on the "Search Copyright Records" link on the home page.

Click on the "Search Catalog" link.

Type in the title of a song, the name of an artist or a keyword in the search field and press enter.

Click on the song you're looking for. The website will list all the important information about who owns the copyright and its effective dates.

Tip

If the song you're looking for doesn't appear in the search, check the Public Domain Information Project's website to make sure the song is legally royalty free.

Warning

Review the copyright laws on the USCO website before using any copyright-protected songs.

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