Fiverr Community Forum

When to copyright my music when giving it to Sellers

I am a Buyer working with singers and rappers.
I need to send them my music so that they can sing and rap on top of it.

Do I need to copyright my music before I send it to the Seller??

If I have my music in Soundcloud or other websites then is that safe enough or I need to get a real Copyright??. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Welcome to the Fiverr forums.

Interesting question. We don’t get many Buyers here, and this question is a unique one that has a variety of possible answers depending on different circumstances.

First, the basic definition of what a ‘copyright’ is:

The way you’ve phrased your question isn’t so much ‘do I need to’ as ‘is it safe’.

I hate to say it, but only those concerned with upholding the law will care if the music is copyrighted or not. Those who don’t care, won’t care.

That said, it’s your responsibility to perform due diligence and find the sellers who will respect your work and honor their contract.

Do you know the difference between distribution rights, commercial rights, commercial usage, broadcasting rights, and copyrights?

Thanks, [imagination7413] for you great answer,
You wrote:
Do you know the difference between distribution rights, commercial rights, commercial usage, broadcasting rights, and copyrights?

I looked them up. I assumed if you own the copyright then others don’t have the distribution and commercial and broadcasting rights and can not use it commercially.
Am I correct??

So if that is true, then if they don’t follow what I specified above then I can sue them if I have the copyright.
The problem is that if you do not get a real copyright and just post your song to soundcloud then you have to pay the legal fees to sue them. If you have a full copyright then you will be reimbursed for your legal fees.
So my original question was should I share the song with the seller after I post it on soundcloud or after I get it fully copyrighted???

You also wrote:
I hate to say it, but only those concerned with upholding the law will care if the music is copyrighted or not. Those who don’t care, won’t care.

So are you saying someone who doesn’t care will do what they are not allowed and hope that they don’t get sued?
Even if they get caught they are hoping that no one will bother to sue them.
Am I correct???

So if they don’t care and break the copyright then what harm will that cause me?

  • they may may steal part of the song and copyright that as their own (that may create problem for me later legally, they may counter sue me)
  • they may may steal the whole song and copyright that as their own (that may create problem for me later legally, but I have a solid legal basis)
  • they may distribute, broadcast and use it commercially but that does not really cause me any harm (if I have a copyright then I can sue them if I can catch them???, if I don’t have the copyright then most probably won’t sue them since I will have to pay the legal fees)
  • they may benefit in other ways but that doesn’t really cause me any harm

So what are some other ways that it can cause me harm???

So are you [imagination7413] saying that it doesn’t matter if I copyright it or not since those who will break the copyright will break it anyway??

So now that everyone has the background, my original question was should I send it to the seller after I post the song on Soundcloud or after I get it fully copyrighted???

Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

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Honestly, as a Musician and Mix Engineer for 30+ years, i think you are worrying far too much and obsessing over details that probably don’t have much relevance for you right now.

Most of those detail things are administered between your Publishing Company (Record Label) and the administration organizations (ASCAP). You don’t get into it because either:

  1. you have nothing in particular worth protecting, yes I mean that. If you aren’t yet Metallica, you have nothing worth protecting, because in great part you have nothing worth stealing. That is no reflection on your music simply that with no money in the game there is nothing of any particular value.
  2. you haven’t realized that your work has copyright the moment you put it into form and particularly when you publish it. Technically there is no more to it. You put your tune on YouTube and Katy Perry comes along and clones it, you were there first. See point #1

As Ms 7413 said, those who have a habit of stealing care not for the laws of good men, they will do what they do. If you fall under Point #1 you have nowhere to go as you can only really sue someone once there is money in the game.

However, if hypothetically I were the writer of a song called oh I don’t know, “Under Pressure” and some cove called Vanilla Ice came along and made a #1 Smash Hit from my song I would feel blessed as not only does this prove that I have got summit’ but I get to talk about how I am the real fella behind Mr Ice’s happenin’ hit. That should see people nosing around. Also seeing Mr Ice has raked in massive mounds of pounds I can hire me some peeps to be talking to his peeps about how half of those proceeds are really mine. Before the court case ever really starts I will probably have a check in my bank and my name on all the credits to ensure what I am owed comes along in the future.

You have to give trust to get trust. I won’t work with people who show they don’t want to trust me. It will become a nightmare fur us both.

So for now, don’t fret what is essentially irrelevant and focus on finding people who are trustworthy. You can spot people who are born slippy as once a leopard, always spotty. This means that their proposals are probably full of signs that they are loose with the truth. Exaggerated claims, too cool for school 'tood, stupidly low pricing…


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Mostly. You can own the copyright, and (for example) still give the seller permission to display it in their personal portfolio.

Here’s a few threads that discuss this (mostly from a Seller perspective, though, except the last one):
. You Don’t Understand Commercial Usage
. Commercial rights - how does it work?
. Transfer of copyright is too vague
. How to get the most out of your (voice over) buyer request :star:

In theory, yes. The problem with this is that Fiverr is a global marketplace, and not a US company. If you pick a seller who is in a country with different ownership laws, suing will cost more than you’d win in compensation, if you won at all.

I’ll admit, I’m not familiar with Soudcloud’s Terms and Conditions, so I can’t really answer that one for you. I think Mr. Ben has a good point.

Due to the global marketplace and the anonymity provided by the internet, it’s sometimes a case of ‘I don’t care, this is a disposable account, I’ll never be physically found’.

More like ‘suing would cost more than it’s worth’. The expenses of legal action across borders alone would be high, I suspect. I don’t know for sure, though.

Unless you mean suing Fiverr?
That’s a whole different can of worms.

I’m just going to share this thread. Different category, but it’s a good example:
. DO NOT buy CC0 bundle videos on Fiverr without LICENCE check

Depends on the Seller. If you’re confident that they won’t steal it, you don’t need to copyright it. (Though, again, see Mr. Ben’s point about ‘publishing’ = copyrighted.)

I’m sorry, but I cannot give you a set ‘yes’ or ‘no’ because there’s too many factors I don’t know.

Thanks for all the responses.
In my original post I already mentioned point # 2 [benedictrm] made.
Once you publish in soundcloud it is already copyrighted.

But the problem with that is that if you sue someone then you have to pay the legal fees.
If you get real copyright then then you will be reimbursed for you legal fees.
Considering this you will never practically sue anybody unless you have a real copyright.

That was my original question, do I send it after it is published or after it is fully copyrighted.

[benedictrm] 's point #1 – I have nothing worth protecting, that is debateable.
Obviously there are probably a million songs in soundcloud and none of them made it big.
But people in the industry who screen songs are being sued a lot and so people in the industry has stopped screening unsolicited songs. So I guess there are unsolicited songs written by beginners or not established people that are worth stealing.

Now back to my original Post. All of the sellers I am talking to are in the US so if I do have a full copyright then it might be possible for me to sue them. But I don’t even know who they are and they can leave fiverr anytime.
So I guess suing is really impractical.

Also a lot of the sellers I am trying to work with have very low pricing so I am curious how come their price is so low.

The other point made by [benedictrm] I am aware of — it might be advantageous for me if they make money from my product cause I can sue them later.

So the main question is, Is my song worth stealing? I guess I am having this discussion cause I think it is worth stealing.

I guess there is nothing I can do about this problem and do what [benedictrm] said and “focus on finding people who are trustworthy”.
But the problem is that I plan to use fiverr a lot and I don’t have a big budget and I am going to have to work with Sellers who have low price Gigs.

So I am trying to figure out what I should do.
What do people in the industry do when collaborating? ?
Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

They talk a lot. They meet face-to-face. They stake their real name and real reputation on the line.


Because it’s not worth their reputation. They made a cost/benefit analysis and said ‘no more’.

Okay, now I have to ask, why Fiverr? Why not Voice123, or BandMix, or allcasting, or another site that focuses more on vocal talent or musical skills?

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I already answered that above. So long as you can prove that you were there first and that the other person traded off your work, you are (technically) set. But again, all that is piss in the wind until there is enough money on the table to make suing worthwhile. Until then you can use YouTube etc to remove offending things that you can reasonably show to have been taken from your without permission.

  • You work with someone, they take your hook, use it in their song and publish it on YouTube. You contact YT showing how you wrote that part, worked with this person giving them opportunity, and now they have your part in their track under their name. Most likely their video either gets blocked totally or any monies they make come in part or full to you. Normally you get to decide that. (Eagles allow virtually no use of their songs at all).
  • You hire a Mix Engineer who shows the finished work in their Portfolio. Unless already formally agreed otherwise, chasing this would be extremely bad manners and YT will probably uphold their right to have the video so long as the song is identified as yours and their Credit proves they have a right to display this work (a legal right under law).

Again, talk to people you seek to work with. Slippery people are always slippery, they can’t help but be grand. Real Professionals are nothing like Sharkskin Suited Slimeballs in films. We tend to be to-the-point, blunt even. We want to contribute to a Great Work of Art and build a Relationship. No more, no less.

Also, again, all this worrying is not doing you any good at all. It will only lead you to make poor choices as your fear leads rather than getting the song where it needs to go. Trust the Song, let the Song lead.


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I’m probably doing myself a large disservice by evening entering this strange thread and peeking my head in.

But… that Is exactly the type of thing I do.

I’m trying to make heads or tails of the questions you’re posing. Seemingly, a professional songwriter hasn’t weighed in (meaning a songwriter paid on retainer, living from royalties and experienced in pitching signed artists through camp interaction or based on reputation and being paid to write), though you’ve gotten particularly strong advice from a professional producer/sound engineer, though comparing pro writing to artist owned mechanical royalties isn’t really a fair scenario. Writers typically work in a different structural system when not signed.

Still, it’s more true than not that you have nothing to worry about. Benedict has laid out the real landscape of “work for hire” to you. It doesn’t matter because you probably won’t come into contact with distribution channels to tabulate substantial amounts of quarterlies that will influence your pocket. If you do, your publishing folks of choice would be the authors of that assignment. You’re probably not signed up with a pub outlet, so copyright the work in bulk, when it’s finished, like everyone else.

In any event, I can answer any questions you have in regards to songwriting, publishing and copyright. I mean… as much as anyone else that has actually made a career involving these concepts - and even then, as I always say, it’s a fairly convoluted subject.

Just so we’re clear: Yes, a copyright is the only real protection you have. Full stop.

No. Uploading your material isn’t any form of actual registry. No matter where. Soundcloud doesn’t have a way to differentiate between the terrible song your neighbor wrote and the terrible song his neighbor wrote.

I have no idea what the unsolicited versus solicited ideas are that you’re conveying, but I can try to untangle those ideas if you’d like. I’m just a little confused on what you’re saying and how it relates to song protection. I can also clarify what professionals do in these situations (mostly, they don’t).

But here’s a piece of advice to base your questions on:

The amount of units you’d have to sale and the pie that you’re carving is so magnificent that it’s unimaginable in 2021. When it comes to downloads? Magnify that number by 100k. My advice to new writers, young writer and writers just launching their career is the same; stop worrying about ideas in trade mags and echo chamber forums. Worry about the craft. Exclusively. Worry about writing undeniable hits. Learn what’s required of you to get pitch meetings and know that the material is smash material.

If I can be any help, I’ll do my best.


Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond. I got tied up last couple of days.

[damooch916] - I am very interested in discussing with you about songwriting issues and I will do it in another reply or if there is any other way I can communicate with you.

[benedictrm] wrote:

I already answered that above. So long as you can prove that you were there first and that the other person traded off your work, you are (technically) set. But again, all that is piss in the wind until there is enough money on the table to make worthwhile.

So if I timestamp my work by posting it on the internet then I am technically set.
Also people will most probably not make any money from my stuff so no need to sue.
If they make a lot of money then I can technically sue.
The problem I was worried about is if they make some money then if I have a official copyright then I won’t have to pay the legal fees.
SO practically there is very low probability of this happening so its no use worrying about it.

So what you are suggesting is “Trust the Song, let the Song lead.” (I don’t know how to do quotes).
So you are saying I put the song out there and see what happens.

The issue I have with that is that if the song is good then there is more chance that others will try to do something unethical with the song.
So If I don’t worry and focus on writing a good song and put it out there then unethical people will be more motivated to do something unethical.
if its not a good song I have nothing to worry about.

My problem is that I am planning to write a lot of songs and beats and fiverr is the best place I found for hired work. I am on a tight budget cause I have to do a lot of songs.
So I have to work with people who seem questionable since they are low price gigs.

My other problem is that I don’t want to bulk copyright a bunch of songs and beats. I want to do one or two songs at a time and see how the songs do and how I can improve them.
And then apply all my new knowledge to write another song.
If I do a lot of songs at a time then all the songs might have the same flaws.

We can talk about what unethical things can cause me problems if that helps.
I think I should give a little more background on how I collaborate.

  1. One way is, I write the song all by myself and in most cases I even sing the song
    and then I give to a singer in fiverr to copy my singing, basically do a cover
  • I will obviously have an informal copywright by timestamping it
  • I am worried the singer will give the song to someone else in the industry who
    I don’t know how will misuse my song. There are many ways they can misuse by song, that can be a long discussion to have here.
  1. I write the Beat for a hip-hop song and give it to a rapper to write the lyric
    and rap for the song.
  • in this case the rapper has 50% of the copyright
  • one worry is the rapper will claim the beat as his own
  • he may give it to someone else in the industry who I don’t know how will misuse the beat

Thanks [benedictrm] for all the very helpful advice.
If you can add something based on my new discussion, that will be helpful.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, and don’t count your songs before they’re written.

Time/schedule, scope, budget/money, risk, resources, quality.
If you have a small budget, you’ll have to sacrifice something else to make up for it.

source: Project management triangle - Wikipedia

I have one of those images too, right next to my inquiry form to remind people that if they want the moon but intend to invest a used peanut for it, things probably won’t go as per their pipe dreams.

I think that you are not taking in what is really being said here @sohanalam183
Letting the Song lead is about doing what the song needs to get where it needs to go. The reality here is that “Ice Ice Baby” probably really did need to lean on the Queen song to get there. It is a super track really and I can’t imagine it without that borrowed hook.

The only real fault here was that they didn’t clear it first. Or maybe in the wash, if Ice’s peeps had asked Queen’s peeps it would have been an automatic no which would have killed that song and all the joy it brought to so many. Not that I endorse the stealing but ultimately the song did what it needed to do and everyone got paid.

Forget all this obsessing about what might (but probably won’t) happen and let the songs do what they need to do. Get on and get this song out. Then turn around and do it again with the next. The most powerful thing in developing a career is publishing and doing it again. Whilst all your energy is in this distracting fear you will deliver nothing.

If budget is tight - and who doesn’t have a tight budget* - you find ways to move with what you have. Many acts have a first recording or three that are rough as guts. Without them, the act would not have become the shiny version you know. These rough records let the act learn their craft as well as start to build a fanbase of people who are there for the songs (instead of only for sound effects).

Again, it is songs and the passion in their delivery that matters. Getting that down costs you very little financially.


*I get so tired of people who try to make me their slave because they think they are the only person with a tight budget. When people tell me that money issues are unique to them it tells me that they a danger to work with as they have no thought for anything but themselves. they will never follow the song where it needs to go and will abuse everyone when it all falls in a heap. And it will seeing they see nothing but uber-stardom as a success and their “career” will look like this over and over seeing their ladder to success has no rungs:

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[imagination7413] wrote
Time/schedule, scope, budget/money, risk, resources, quality.
If you have a small budget, you’ll have to sacrifice something else to make up for it.

I am trying to figure out what sacrifices I am going to have to make

[benedictrm] wrote:

" The most powerful thing in developing a career is publishing and doing it again . Whilst all your energy is in this distracting fear you will deliver nothing."

their ladder to success has no rungs:

I guess I haven’t given much background about myself. I have been trying to make it as a producer/songwriter for the past 20 years. During that time I had another fulltime job so I was doing it at the side.
During that time I have published songs and beats. I was very willing and eager to do it because I ASSUMED my stuff was not that good and did not care if it was misused. 10 years ago I worker with a rapper and 2 of our songs were in top 3 in SoundClick hiphop chart. We did 10 songs.
I still considered my beats were not that good. I usually spend all my time improving my skills as a beatmaker and songwriter…
Now I think I have something that has potential. It is most probably not valuable enough for someone to steal but its possible someone can try to steal them.

That’s why I am trying to see if need to be careful now. In the past 20 years i was willing to let anybody hear my stuff or publish them.

I think I understand what everyone is trying to say but I thought I needed to be careful.
But considering everything It looks like I have no choice but to publish my songs/beats if I want to make it. I just wanted to see if there is any other options.

I also wanted to talk about the example of “Ice Ice Baby”. To me it does not seem like an appropriate example.
First of all “Under Pressure” was an established song from one of the best artist in history. Very different from my situation. I am nobody and my song is not at all established. So they can bully me and take over my song.
When Vanilla Ice copied it he knew very well he is going to get caught. In my case if someone misuses my song/beat they believe they won’t get caught, even if they do they might believe they can win the case.

But a good point of the example is that if someone copies my song and it becomes big then I get a piece of the pie.

Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

If you don’t know what sacrifices you would be prepared to make then you are not ready. I guess you haven’t seen any of those Rocumentary films where the wife says to the musician hubby, if you go on tour we are done. And he goes on tour. it may seem brutal on her but if music is what he does, music is what he does. Same with all them Rodeo songs like George Strait “I Can Still Make Cheyenne”. Another song with this message is The Cult “Heart Of Soul”.

You may think it irrelevant I list these songs you probably don’t even want to like. See em this way, they are like little TED Talks from specialists in the field. Not just some 30+ year vet who almost got signed then ended up on Fiverr, but people who made it to the top and stayed there. Learn from your history, the people who went before and worked out how it works and passed that forward to you.

Vanilla Ice probably had no idea that most of his song was “borrowed” or if he did at that time probably didn’t care. He seems a decent chap now but back then he was a total paddle pop. His record label would have made the song and at that time, sampling was still a fairly open playing field with many still believing that this was fine, noble even. Or, they may have known it would get a demand from Queen and figured the song would Hit so fast that it would be worth it for the extra publicity and sense of naughtiness it added to Ice’s public bad-boy persona. There is still plenty of value in the example. Not that stealing is ok, but that it is not always the end. Go ask Flame :wink:

Again, again, again, you need to step away from this thought process. This is fear alone talking. If you can write hit songs, even if someone else nicks it, it only proves that you are better than they are and that you can do it again. The thief can never do anything so they are easy to ride over. Willie Nelson used to sell songs for a few bucks. Do you think he regrets that? I doubt it. he has enough of his own hits that he or someone else wrote. The song is what counts.

Besides, and this is the really important thing you are not getting through you, you cannot control what has not happened and might never happen, and if it did, might be the greatest gift from god if it did. Garth Brooks had a hit with a song all about that.

The song is what counts. How you let the song lead you is what counts. KISS learned this under Bob Ezrin as he had them re-purpose a song into “Beth” and their first real Hit. They spring-boarded that even further with Pau’s “I Was Made For Loving You”.

Forget all this fear. Or better, let yourself see and and shrug it off so you and the songs that chose you can do their work.