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International Standard Works Code (ISWC)

Last updated: August 18, 2011

What Does International Standard Works Code (ISWC) Mean?

International Standard Works Code is a unique set of identifiers of music. ISWC is a way in which music or literary works are identified or cataloged. It is controlled by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (ICSAC). Computer databases can distinguish these unique sets of identifiers, and ISWCs always begin with the reference letter “T.” Intellectual property is then categorized and identified with the ICSAC. Standards for coding copyrighted creative works were first implemented by ICSAC.


Techopedia Explains International Standard Works Code (ISWC)

ISWC can be useful when used in conjunction with library cataloging. And it identifies works as opposed to recordings. ISWC databases are used internationally, which ICSAC tries to promote. The ICSAC’s mission also includes public education and awareness about copyright laws. ICSAC favors improved legislation worldwide protecting authors and artists holding creative copyrights. While the designated codes assigned to specific works always begin with the same prefix “T,” they do not directly relate to the author, artist or title of their owned works. The very first ISWC was assigned to “Dancing Queen” by ABBA in 1995.


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