A copyright attorney at Gehres Law Library can help you through the process of registering your creative works so you get legal protections. Contact our legal team to determine if you can copyright a work and to get help with the registration process.
The Process of Registering a Creative Work
The Copyright Basics Guide prepared by the United States Copyright Office explains the laws in the United States protecting creative works.
According to the Copyright Office, registration has not been required since March 1, 1989, as a copyright exists automatically when an original work of authorship is created in an eligible medium. However, registration of copyrighted work is required to enforce copyright protections. In other words, if you want to be able to sue to stop someone from improperly using your copyrighted material, you must have registered that material. Learn more about the benefits of registering your copyrights here.
To register your creative work, you’ll need to take these key steps:
- Ensure the work can be copyrighted: You can copy musical works and lyrics; literary works; dramatic works including soundtracks and musical scores; choreographic work; pantomimes; pictorial and graphic arts; sculptural works; motion pictures; audiovisual works; sound recordings including music, spoken word and other recorded sounds; and architectural work. You cannot copyright widely-used symbols or designs; variations of letters or typographic ornamentation; ideas or procedures; or lists of contents or ingredients.
- Determine if you have the rights to copyright the work: You can copyright creative works that you produce. You can also copyright works made for hire, which include works created by your employees as part of their customary duties.
- Submit an online application to register your work with Copyright.gov or mail in your registration application. If you are going to electronically register your work, there is a registration portal where you can go through the registration process. You will need to select the type of work you want to copyright and go through the specific application necessary for that type of work product. If you are registering electronically, are the sole author of the work, and are registering one work, you can submit a streamlined single application; however using this application when you are not eligible could cost you additional fees and could result in registration delays. You will also need to make a payment to the Copyright Office and will need to either ship a copy of your work to the office or will need to upload a digital copy of your work depending upon what you are copyrighting.
Once you have registered your copyright, you have legal protections. If someone attempts to use your copyrighted material without your authorization, you can pursue litigation to stop the misuse of the copyrighted material and, in some cases, to obtain damages for loss.
Getting Help from A Copyright Attorney
Gehres Law Library can provide assistance with determining if your creative work is eligible to be copyrighted or if you should use an alternate approach, such as filing a patent or trademarking your work product. Our legal team will also guide you through the formal process of applying to register your copyright, which can be a difficult process that begins with choosing the correct application. Just give us a call at 858-964-2314 or contact us online to find out how we can help; we offer free consultations for new clients. Learn more about our copyright flat fee packages here.