Is there a cheaper way to register my copyright?
The short answer is, "Yes." Many agencies will offer you cheap rates to register your creations. I would recommend registering your works with a totally trusted source - a government copyright registration office, or a reputable professional organization such as SOCAN, ASCAP, or BMI, etc.
There is a method to protect your copyright though, that is quite inexpensive and easy for anyone to use.
If you write notation, mail a copy of your song to yourself - double registered. This requires that as well as being signed for, the parcel will be time stamped on delivery. When your parcel arrives, sign for it, tape the receipt to the envelope, and put it in a file for safe-keeping. If the ownership of your material is ever in dispute, present the unopened file in court to prove your ownership as of the date on the envelope (God bless the postal service).
If you do not write notation, the process simply requires an extra step or two..
Make a recording of your song on a CD. This can be done with a digital voice recorder that plugs in to your computer to transfer the music file. If you do not have access to a DVR or a computer, make the best recording of your song you can using a cassette recorder. Don't worry about harmony lines or fully-produced backup - keep it simple. All you need is a clear lead line showing the melody. You can also use a flash drive, but this can be wasteful, as it is best to have one recording for each song.
Make a clean, legible copy of your lead sheet, with neatly-typed lyrics and chords.
As above, double register the parcel containing the CD together with your lead sheet, and, after signing the receipt and taping it to the parcel, place it in a safe place.
You can also pay from 35-75 for each copyright dependent upon which type you are getting and there are also agencies that you can do multiple for a cheaper rate. Hope this helps Bryan . I don't think just cataloging will do it alone or at least you would have a bigger fight on your hands should someone decide to take your song.