Although certain types of Works that are “creative” and “original” are deemed to have Copyright protection from the moment that the Work is created and “fixed in any tangible medium,” in order for the owner of the Copyright to receive greater rights, and increase his or her ability to protect those rights, the Work should be registered.
The United States Copyright Office is a division of the United States Department of Commerce. Registering with this office will greatly enhance the Copyright owner’s ability to seek various types of damages if the Copyright has been infringed upon by an outside party. Before applying for registration of a copyrighted Work, it should be determined whether the Work is copyrightable, i.e. whether it is one of the types of Work for which a registration can be obtained. Simply applying to register a Copyright does not necessarily mean that the Work in question is copyrightable.
An application for Copyright registration involves an application form, a nonrefundable filing fee, and a nonreturnable deposit of a copy or copies of the Work being registered and “deposited” with the Copyright Office.
An Applicant may submit a paper application or file an application online. Filing online has several advantages:
- a lower filing fee;
- email acknowledgment of filing;
- faster processing;
- status tracking; and,
- secure payment methods.
Filing an application does not mean that an Applicant receives a Registration. The application is reviewed by a staff member of the Copyright Office for substantive and procedural requirements. The staff member will either seek additional information by telephone or by sending a letter or email to the Applicant. If no such information is required, the staff member will send a certificate of registration indicating that the Work has been registered or a letter rejecting the Application.
Copyright Notice, i.e., the ©, year of creation, and author of the Work, can be used with the Work upon its completion. This is unlike the ® for trademarks, which cannot be used until the issuance of the registration.