Hi there madelines~
Here is the step-by-step procedure you requested:
First, youll need to formally file with the Copyright Office, in
order to help prevent others from copying the work and profiting from
1. Go to this pdf document and print it out:
http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formpai.pdf (If you have trouble
getting the document to load, go instead to
http://www.copyright.gov/register/performing.html and in step 2
click on Form PA.)
2. Fill the form out completely.
3. Write a check for $30, made payable to Register of Copyrights
4. Make two complete copies of the compilation of music, which the
Copyright Office can keep. Be sure to include a title page. It is best
to have the music printed first, and then send the Copyright Office
the published result.
5. Put all the above items in an envelope.
6. Since youre not the original copyright owner (your father would
have been), you will have to provide legal proof of your right to
copyright the work. For more about Who Can Claim Copyright, see this
page of the U.S. Copyright Offices website:
http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wccc , as well as their
article Transfer of Copyright Ownership:
7. Send off the package to: Library of Congress, Copyright Office, 101
Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20559-6000
Your registration is effective the day the Office receives all the
proper materials. As long as the Office has everything they need,
youll receive formal notice of the copyright within 5 months.
You do not need any kind of license simply to sell sheet music or a
book of musicUNLESS doing so will disrupt your neighborhood. For
example, if you have delivery trucks coming and going from your house.
Each city or county has slightly different rules about this, so you
should probably check them out. Just call your local city office and
Youll need an assumed name license if you decide to creating a
publishing company name. If you are just using your own name as
publisher, you wont need this license. Assumed name licenses are
obtained through the state or county. When you call your city to ask
about the above, you can also ask exactly where you should apply for
an assumed business name.
Depending upon how you want to go about selling the book of music, you
may or may not want to get an ISBN (International Standard Book
Number). If you plan on selling the book on your own (via the
Internet, in person, or via snail mailwith you acting as the
bookseller), you probably dont need to worry about an ISBN. ISBNs
are used primarily by book and music stores. There may be times when a
customer will come into a book or music store seeking your book, and
if its listed with ISBN, the store can call you and order a copy for
but in your case, this is unlikely, unless you have some
really strong advertising and marketing for the music.
Having an ISBN will *not* ensure that book or music stores carry your
music. However, if they know that your book of music is out there, and
they have a desire to carry it, having an ISBN will enable them to
easily order copies.
Should you decide to get an ISBN, youll have to include the number on
the back cover of your music book, and on the copyright page. For
paperbacks, it also needs to be on the books spine.
To apply for an ISBN:
1. Go to http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/us/application.asp
2. Click on Application for an ISBN Publisher
3. Click on Continue your application process
4. Fill out the ISBN form
If you have questions about filling out the form, go to the How To
Complete The Application page:
There is a fee for this service. It varies: $14.95 for 10 ISBNs;
$39.95 for 100 ISBNs; $119.95 for 1000 ISBNs; and $299.95 for 10,000
ISBNs. There is also a processing fee, which varies according to your
application, from $225 on up.
* Reserachers own knowledge of book publishing and copyright issues
* Stopping by the Copyright Office website (http://www.copyright.gov/
* Stopping by R.R. Bowkers website (
http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp ), handlers of ISBNs.
Clarification of Answer by
14 Jul 2003 11:56 PDT
I'm happy to answer your clarification questions :)
1. First, the delivery truck issue is separate from the necessity to
get an assumed business name. The delivery truck has to do with city
ordinances regarding in-home businesses. (The idea is that they don't
want in-home businesses disturbing the neighborhood with heavy
traffic, large signs, etc.) You will have to contact your city in
order to find out whether or not you *must* under all circumstances
have a business license.
An assumed business name (sometimes called "Doing Business As" or
"DBA") is an entirely separate matter. For the business owner, there's
no advantage to getting an assumed business name--except that some
people might think it is "more businesslike." Filings for assumed
business names are strictly designed to help *consumers* know who they
are dealing with, in case of difficulties.
2. If you want to approach music stores, you will undoubtedly want an
ISBN, unless you're just dealing with a few local stores. However, in
such cases, you don't necessarily have to have an assumed business
I hope that clears things up!