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Because you have created something creative, something unique and most importantly, something of value. There are many ways to ensure that your work will be used only as you intend, but there are also different levels of protection under different circumstances and in different countries.
In many countries copyright is automatic. And automatic—in this case and in these locations—means that once a work is put into tangible form, the creator of that work owns the copyright and it is protected by copyright law. That person is not required to register his or her songs with any kind of authority in order for them to be protected. While not the letter of the law in every country, this language (as advised by the Australian Attorney General’s office) suggests the following:
“To help protect your copyright work, it is advisable to mark it with the © symbol, the name of the copyright owner and the year in which the work was created. Although this is not essential, it will let others know when the term of protection started and it should then be possible to calculate whether it has ended or not. It will also indicate who the owner was at that time in case it is then necessary to approach them should you need to ask permission to use the work.”
In summary, there is a lot to think about and a lot to understand. If you are an artist or songwriter with questions, CCLI can often offer general guidance, and where we can’t advise you, we can often point you in the right direction.