Do you know what is the connection between copyright and royalties?

Navigating the terrain of intellectual property can often feel like deciphering a foreign language.

But for creators of any kind, understanding the world of copyright and royalties is not only important, but essential.

Copyright, essentially a legal protection given to original creators, and authorities, the financial compensation they receive when their work is used, form the backbone of creative industries.

This blog will provide a simplified, yet comprehensive, exploration of these key concepts.

Welcome to our exciting journey through the world of creative rights and rewards.

What is the Difference Between Copyright and Royalties?

Understanding the intricate workings of intellectual property rights can be challenging.

Two terms that often come up in discussions around this topic are ‘copyright’ and ‘royalties’. While interconnected, they represent two different aspects of intellectual property rights.

Copyright refers to the exclusive legal rights that creators of original works are granted over their creations.

Trademark begins as soon as a work is created and fixed in a tangible form, like when a song is recorded, a book is written, or a painting is finished.

Copyright protection ensures creators maintain control over their work and can benefit from their creativity and labor.

Authorities, on the other hand, are the payments made to the trademark holders, usually artists or writers, in exchange for the use of their trademarked work.

Similarly, an author receives royalties when their book is sold.

How to Apply for Royalty?

Applying for authorities is a process that depends on the type of creative work involved and the medium through which it is distributed or used. Here are the general steps:

Create an Original Work

The first step is to create a work that is original and fixed in a tangible form such as a book, song, photograph, painting, etc.

Secure Copyright

Automatically, upon creation and fixation, your work is under trademark protection.

Establish a Licensing Agreement

Licensing agreement in the trademark process is when the creator asks permission from the copyright owner to use the work.

The agreement for the copyright will have specific terms and conditions to use the work as the creator.

Join a Collection Society (for certain types of works)

If you are a musician or songwriter, it is advisable to join a Performance Rights Organisation (PRO) like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC.

These organisations monitor and collect authorities on behalf of artists for the public performance of their works.

For authors, agencies like the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) serve a similar role.

Track and Collect Royalties

Make sure to keep accurate records and have a system in place to track the use of your work.

Collection societies can help with this, but there are also numerous companies offering royalty management services.

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Get Legal Advice

The world of intellectual property and authorities can be complex. Getting legal advice can help to ensure your rights are fully protected and you are receiving all the authorities you are due.

How to Apply for Copyright Registration?

Applying for copyright registration can provide additional legal protection and benefits for your creative work.

Visit the U.S. Copyright Office Website

The U.S. Copyright Office provides an online portal, the Electronic Copyright Office (eCO), where you can register your work.

Create an Account

To begin the registration process, create an account on the eCO system.

Complete the Registration Form

Fill out all the required sections with as much detail as possible.

Pay the Registration Fee

The registration process requires a fee, which you can pay online using a card or an ACH transfer via the U.S. Treasury’s system.

Submit Your Work

The eCO system will guide you on how to submit your work once you reach this step in the application process.

Wait for Processing

After submission, your application will be processed.

You can check the status of your claim by logging into your eCO account.

Types of Royalties

Authorities are financial payments made to the creators or owners of intellectual property rights, typically copyrights, patents, and trademarks, for the use of their work.

Mechanical Royalties: These are paid to songwriters and publishers when music is sold physically (like CDs and vinyl), downloaded, or streamed.

The term ‘mechanical’ comes from when music was mechanically reproduced on phonographs.

Performance Authorities: These are earned when a copyrighted song or piece of music is performed publicly, whether it’s played on the radio, television, bars, concerts, or streamed on digital platforms.

Synchronisation (Sync) Royalties: These are paid to songwriters and publishers for the use of a song in synchronisation with visual media like movies, TV shows, commercials, video games, or promotional videos.

Print Music Royalties: These are generated when a musical composition is transcribed to a print piece like sheet music and sold.

Theatrical and DVD Royalties: These are due to the copyright holders of scripts, plays, or performances when their work is used in theatrical productions or sold on DVDs.

Franchise Royalties: In the business world, these are paid by franchisees to the owners of the franchise for the rights to use the franchised business’s trademark and operating model.

Patent Royalties: These are paid to patent holders when their patented technology or process is used.

Each type of royalty serves as a way for creators and owners of intellectual property to be compensated for their creative efforts and investments.

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The exact amount and way these royalties are collected can depend on various factors including industry norms, contracts between parties, and local laws and regulations.

Copyright and Royalty Fees in India, US and UK

Understanding the fee structure associated with copyright and royalties can be intricate, as it varies by country and depends on various factors like the type of work and the manner of its usage.


The copyright fees in India will range between INR 500 to INR 5,000. However, the cost of registration will depend on the type of the work.

As for royalties, India follows a statutory licensing approach for radio and television broadcasting of literary and musical works and sound recording.

The rates are decided by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) and can vary.

United States

Copyright Office ranges from $45 to $125, depending on factors such as the type of application and whether it’s a single or group registration.

The royalty rates are typically negotiated between the copyright holder and the party wishing to use the copyrighted material.

In some cases, such as for mechanical royalties for music, a statutory rate is set by the U.S.

United Kingdom

In the U.K., copyright does not need to be registered, and therefore, no fee applies. Copyright is automatically granted upon the creation and fixation of the work.

Royalty rates in the U.K. are typically based on agreements between the creator and the user of the work.

In case of music, collection societies like PRS for Music and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) set and collect royalties for public performances and broadcasting.

In all three countries, royalty payments are often subject to taxation.

It’s crucial for creators to understand the implications of these fees and royalties in their specific region and for their specific type of work.

Always consider consulting with a legal professional or a rights organisation for guidance in these matters.

Importance of Royalty and Copyright for Creators

Copyrights and royalties are fundamental to creators as they offer both protection and financial compensation for their work. Here’s a closer look at their importance:

Protection of Intellectual Property

Copyright offers creators the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, and distribute their work.

Without copyright protection, a creator’s work could be used by others without their consent, potentially leading to financial loss and unauthorised replication.

Control Over the Work

Copyright owners can decide who can use their work and under what conditions, ensuring that their creative vision is respected and maintained.

Source of Income

Royalties provide a vital income stream for creators.

They are the payments made to copyright holders when their work is used.

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This can come from book sales, music streaming, performance of their work, or licensing their work for use in movies, commercials, etc.

Recognition and Credibility

Copyrights and royalties can also provide creators with recognition for their work and add to their professional reputation and credibility.

They can help to establish a creator’s place in their industry and potentially open doors to further opportunities.

Incentive for Creativity

Lastly, the prospect of earning royalties can act as an incentive for creators to continue creating.

Knowing that their work is protected and that they can earn income from it encourages continuous innovation and creativity.


In conclusion, the twin pillars of ‘copyright’ and ‘royalties’ are fundamental to safeguarding and rewarding creativity.

They ensure that creators can control, protect, and monetize their original work.

Whether you’re an artist, author, musician, or any kind of innovator, understanding copyright and royalties is crucial.

These rights not only provide a shield for your intellectual property but also turn your creative efforts into sustainable income, incentivising the continuous cycle of creation and innovation that drives our rich and diverse cultural landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects original works of authorship the moment they are fixed in a tangible medium.

This includes literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other types of works.

What are royalties?

Royalties are payments made to copyright holders, often the creators of original work, for the use of their copyrighted work.

Royalty rates can vary widely and are typically agreed upon in contracts between the copyright holder and the party wishing to use the copyrighted work.

How do I copyright my work?

Copyright is automatically granted the moment an original work is created and fixed in a tangible form.

How do I earn royalties from my copyrighted work?

Earning royalties involves licensing your copyrighted work to another party.

The terms and conditions, including the royalty rate, are often outlined in a licensing agreement.

Royalties are then paid to you based on the agreed terms, which could be, for example, a percentage of revenues generated by your work.

What happens if someone uses my copyrighted work without permission?

If someone uses your copyrighted work without permission, it may be considered copyright infringement.

Legal remedies for this can include suing for damages, such as loss of profits and any additional harm suffered.