5 Things to Know About Ringtones and Copyright

It’s no secret that people love listening to music, whether it be on their own time or while they’re working. While many people keep their phones on vibrate all the time, there is a great number of them that likes to express their style by assigning their favorite tune as a ringtone. But what about when someone downloads a ringtone without permission? And what about when you make your own ringtone? There are a lot of legalities surrounding music and ringtones, so it’s important to know what you’re doing before you start making any sounds so you can avoid the legal hustle.

1. What are Ringtones?


Ringtones are short sound files that are played as ringing sounds on a phone or other electronic device. They are typically created by recording a song and then modifying it to be shorter.

Ringtones can be copyrighted, which means that the creator of the ringtone may have legal rights to its use. Copyright laws vary from country to country, so it is important to check with your local copyright office to determine if your ringtone is legally protected.

If you want to create a custom ringtone for your own phone, it is best to get permission from the copyright owner before doing so.

2. What is Copyright?

Copyright is a legal protection that gives the creator of an original work the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and perform that work publicly. This protection lasts for a certain amount of time, usually the life of the author or 95 years after their death, whichever comes first. The owner of a copyright can prevent others from reproducing, distributing, performing, displaying, or creating derivative works based on the work. If you want to use a sound that is protected, you can do so by paying a certain amount of cash.

3. Which songs can be used as ringtones?


If you want to use a song as your phone’s ringtone, be aware that not all songs are legal to do so. Most music labels enforce their copyright by prohibiting the use of their songs as ringtones without the permission of the copyright holder. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if you use a cover version of a song that was originally released by a different artist, you’re generally free to use that song as your ringtone. And, of course, if the song is in the public domain (i.e., it has been released without any copyright restrictions), you’re free to use it as your ringtone without fear of reprisal from the music label.

If you want to use a song in your own YouTube video, you need to get the permission of the copyright holder. The song’s publisher will usually give you this permission, but there are some exceptions. If you use a part of the song that is copyrighted but not the whole song, you won’t get into trouble. However, if you use a whole song without getting permission, you could be sued.

If you’re looking for a way to add some fun and excitement to your life without spending a lot of money, checking out online ringtone sites is a great idea. Unlike traditional ringtones, which you have to purchase from a store or download from an app, online ringtone sites like let you choose a tune from a big database. Copyright laws don’t always apply to ringtones the same way they do to music files, so be sure to check the site’s terms of service before creating or sharing a ringtone.

4. How to Protect Your Ringtones and Copyright

If you have created a catchy ringtone or your favorite song is playing on the radio, you may be wondering how to protect it. Copyright law protects original works of authorship, such as songs, poems, and paintings. In order to protect your art, you will need to follow the steps outlined below.

Step One: Register Your Ringtone with the Copyright Office

If you have filed a copyright registration for your work with the United States Copyright Office (CO), then you are automatically protected by copyright law. However, if you have not registered your work with the CO, then you will need to do so in order to secure full protection. To register your ringtone with the CO, visit their website at and follow the simple instructions.

Step Two: Obtain a Copyright Registration Certificate

Once your work has been registered with the CO, you will need to obtain a copyright registration certificate in order to prove that you own the copyright to your ringtone or song. You can either get a certificate from the CO yourself or through an agent or attorney. The cost of obtaining a certificate varies depending on where you live.

5. Copyright-free music


If you don’t want to pay for a ringtone, you can use generic sounds that are already on your phone. The other way is to find some copyright-free music online. There is a number of songs available on sites like Youtube and SoundCloud. Just be sure to check the licensing agreement first to make sure that the music you’re using is allowed. You can also find music at libraries, used CD stores, and even online music retailers. If you like any of these tunes, you can use them for your phone ringing sound.


There are a lot of things to know about ringtones and copyright law, so be sure to keep these things in mind if you’re ever thinking of creating your own. Know that ringtones are protected by copyright law, and make sure you get permission from the songwriter or artist before using their music in your ringtone. If you want to use a preexisting song as your ringtone, be sure to get permission from both the songwriter and the rights holder for that particular song. Finally, always make sure that your ringtone is labeled correctly so people can find it easily on their phones.

About Aniya Wilkins