What is a copyright?
A copyright is a form of legal protection, grounded in the United States Constitution, for the protection of original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and non-published works.

What does copyright protect?

Copyright protects original works of authorship including, but not limited to, literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation.

When is my work protected?

A work is protected by copyright when it is created and fixed in a tangible form that is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Why should I register my copyright?

Although copyright exists from the moment a work is created, there are many reasons to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. A copyright registration provides a public record of the facts of the copyright and gives the copyright owner a Certificate of Registration. Further, registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation. If registration occurs within five years of publication, it is considered “prima facie” evidence in a court of law. Finally, a copyright registration is required to enforce your rights in a law suit for infringement of your work.

How long does a copyright last?

The term of a copyright depends on several factors, including whether it has been published and the date of first publication. For works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional seventy (70) years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of ninety-five (95) years from the year of first publication or one-hundred and twenty (120) years from the year of creation, whichever expires first. For works first published or created prior to 1978, the term of copyright will depend on several factors.

How do I register my copyright?
To register a copyright, you must prepare and file an application with the United States Copyright Office. Please contact us with any questions or for any assistance with preparing and filing your copyright application.