How Do You Apply for a Copyright?


Quick Answer

You do not need to apply for a copyright, because the law stipulates that created works are under copyright protection as soon as the authors fix them in tangible forms, reports the U.S. Copyright Office. To register a copyrighted work for legal purposes, fill out an application form, and send it with copies of the work and the appropriate fee to the U.S. Copyright Office.

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Full Answer

Register your work online using the eCo eService, advises the U.S. Copyright Office. Alternatively, download and print out a paper form from the Copyright.gov website. Along with your application, send a printed copy, electronic copy, CD-ROM or audio recording of the work. Pay online by credit card, or send a check or money order by mail. After the Copyright Office processes your application, you receive a proof of registration certificate by mail.

Copyright law protects all types of intellectual property, such as literary works, songs, movies, architecture and computer software, as soon as you create them, explains the U.S. Copyright Office. Publication is unnecessary. However, registration is mandatory to initiate a lawsuit for copyright infringement, and if you have registered your work, you may receive attorney's fees and statutory damages in a successful lawsuit. You can register your work under a pseudonym. Copyright registrations are public records, so anything you put on your application is available to the public.

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