A mixtape is a compilation of works. Those works may be created by you, or by other artists. The U.S. Copyright Office will grant copyright to a mixtape under the "collection title." To receive a copyright, the compilation must contain some "level of creativity" according to PDDOC.com. This means the mixtape must contain some originality -- in either the way the music is arranged or what songs are included.
Go to the U.S. Copyright Office website and select the "Login" icon. Then click the option to register.
Enter your name, email address and address. Select a user name and password. Then click "Finish."
Select "Register a New Claim" in the left-hand menu of your account.
Select "Start an Application" in your account.
Choose "Sound Recording" as the "Type of Work." Click "Continue."
Click "New" and enter the "Title" of the mixtape. Then click "Continue."
Select "Yes" or "No" if any of the songs have been previously published by a recording company. If yes, enter the year the song was created and the date of publication. Click "Continue."
Enter the name of the author. For a mixtape, the producer that arranged the songs would be the author. Click the "Continue" button.
Identify each copyright claimant. List the person or company that has copyright to each song included in the mixtape. If you are the claimant, insert your name only and select how the copyright was transferred to you -- - for example, by written agreement or authorship -- in the "Transfer Statement" field. Then click "Continue."
Enter the title of all songs which you don't intend to apply for copyright for on the "Limitation of Claim" page. Select "Sound Recording," enter the copyright registration numbers and year each excluded song was copyrighted in the corresponding fields. You must contact the copyright holder and request the copyright registration numbers. Click "Continue."
Enter the name of any person that has right to the copyright of the mixtape on the "Rights & Permissions" page, then click "Continue."
Enter the name and information for the contact person, such as an attorney or manager, on the "Correspondent" name. Click "Continue." Then enter the address where the copyright certificate will need to be mailed to, and press "Continue."
Complete the "Certification" page. Check the box next to the statement certifying that you are the author, copyright claimant or owner of exclusive rights. Type your name in the corresponding box. Press "Continue."
Select "Add to Cart" and use a debit or credit card to pay for the application. As of the date of publication, the cost to copyright a mixtape is $35 to submit the application online.
Select the "Browse" button on the submission page to open the browser window. Select your mixtape compilation file in the browser window and select "Open." The office will accept music files saved in MP3, WAV, WMA, MID, AIF, AU, MID, RMI and RA.
Click "Submit" to submit your compilation with your application. The application is now submitted, and will be reviewed by a representative of the U.S. Copyright Office. If copyright is granted, you will receive your certificate in the mail. The copyright process can take several weeks.
- You must receive permission from all artists featured to use their work on the mixtape, especially if you intend to make profit from the compilation. This is separate from copyright, and must be conducted with each individual artist, producer or record company.
- If you don't want to submit your application online, call the U.S. Copyright Office and request an application by mail. The mailed application will require the same information as the online application, and you will need to submit the mixtape on a compact disc.
- Album artwork can also be copyrighted. Since the majority of the material being copyrighted falls under "sound recording," submit the artwork with the sound recording application. It's copyright will be processed at the same time.
- U.S. Copyright Office: Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright --103. Subject Matter of Copyright: Compilations and Derivative Works
- U.S. Copyright Office: Copyright Registration of Music
- U.S. Copyright Office: Copyright Registration for Musical Compositions, 5
- PDDOC.com; What is Required for a Compilation to be Eligible for Copyright; Michael Goad; 2005
- U.S. Copyright Office: Fees
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images