How to Get a Copyright?


How to Get a Copyright

To protect your intellectual property, you must register a copyright with the U.S Copyright office. By taking this action, you are free to file a lawsuit and take any infringer to court. To do that, you must have already registered the copyright, or the lawsuit will be rejected. The registration process might take some time, but it is worth all the effort. In this article, we look at the copyright registration process.

Many people use the U.S Copyright Office electronic filing application. You can also get plenty of information on the use of copyrights by checking the United States Copyright Office FAQ. The other alternative is to seek the help of a copyright attorney.

Find Out About Your Copyright Eligibility

Not all works are protect able by copyright. It only protects original works of authorship which in most cases are in a tangible expression or form. Such pieces include

Architectural works

Sound recordings,

Audiovisual works,

Motion pictures,


Graphics and sculptural works,

Choreographic and pantomimes work,

Dramatic works with accompanying music,

Musical works and lyrics,

Literary works.

In most cases, the categories are construed broadly; for instance, a computer program will be registered as a literary work. In the same light, the following materials are not eligible for copyright protection.

Works consisting entirely of information that is considered common property,

Discoveries as opposed to illustration, explanation, or description,

Principles and concepts,

Systems and methods,

Procedures and ideas,

Mere listings of contents or ingredients,

Simple variations of typographic ornamentation,

Familiar designs, symbols, or slogans,

Short phrases,

Names and titles.

You must check with your state department to know the exact eligibility requirements to avoid cancellation or rejection of your application.

Opt For a Digital Framework

If you want to reduce your work and make it easy, opt for a digital format.   When making your submission, op for a digital copy. You must prepare it at the beginning of the application process. The copies will not be returned although, in some cases, you may need to submit a hard copy of your work in which case it becomes a United State’s government property.

Completing the Online Application Process

It will cost you about 35 dollars to complete an online copyright application. In case you have a firm that will be reinforcing the copyright, then it must be assigned to the company in the submission.  Also, assign it to an individual if you so wish depending on your reasons for copyright.

Take note that when you register a claim to copyright, it becomes part of a public record which is posted online for others to see. However, you will receive an email from the copyright office acknowledging receipt of your application. The processing times for copyright submissions is about three months for online filing and seven months for hard-copy filing.   Check the U.S Copyright office for the application forms.

Although optional, you may consider pre-registering for copyright if your work is not yet complete or released.  It is not a registration but an indication of your intent to register a work once you are through and ready to release. In this case, you can register the work within a month after the copyright owner becomes aware of the infringement. It should not be later than three months after publishing the work. Read Last article How Much Does a Copyright Cost?

Protecting Your Work 

Once you get the copyright, ensure your work is safe by marking it correctly. Have a well-worded notice to deter infringement.  Although you don’t require a copyright notice, displaying a notice shows that you are aware of infringements of your work and you are ready to take the appropriate action.

Also, you must register your work. In case your work is infringed, and someone disputes your claim to copyright, you will need evidence to help in supporting your claim.  The valuable evidence you need must include the verifiable proof of the date and content of your work.

Among the supporting evidence you need include early drafts, synopsis, sketches, and rough recordings among other things.  You want something that shows work was not copied but progressed over time.  Watermarking or footprints can also help you when inserted into the finished document.