All of my clients are concerned with protecting their intellectual property. In the realm of copyright law, one of the most important steps an artist must take to protect their copyrights is to register their works with the copyright office.
While it is true that in the United States a person automatically is granted a copyright in their original works of expression, registration is vital for a couple important reasons I will highlight.
1. A copyright is fine and good but without a registration you cannot sue an infringer in Federal Court which leaves you without an extremely important enforcement mechanism.
2. A registered copyright is necessary to collect statutory damages under the copyright act. This is extremely important because often, especially with new bands starting out, it is very difficult to prove the actual damages that have been suffered as a result of someone ripping off your intellectual property.
There are more benefits than these two but this is to show you just how important copyright registration is. It is also relatively inexpensive to register a copyright, even if you employ an attorney to help you so I highly recommend that any artist look over their past works and make sure they seriously think about registering these works if you are at all concerned they may be copied at some point without your consent.