How do you obtain Copyright protection?
Copyright is automatically secured once the created work is in a fixed form of expression. There is no requirement for the work to be registered with the Federal Government; however, there are benefits to obtaining a Federal Copyright Registration.
A registration application can be filed at any time during the lifetime of a copyright and there is no requirement for a work to be published to obtain this registration. However, if a work is published, it should be marked with the name of the owner, the year of first publication and official insigniation ©.
Deposit of Work
After publication in the United States, a copy of the work must be deposited in the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office. This deposit must be made within three months of the date of first publication. Failure to make the deposit can result in fines and other penalties but does not affect copyright protection.
How do you obtain a Copyright Registration?
- An application must be completed setting out ownership and publication details of the work
- A fee must be paid
- A non-returnable deposit of the work being registered must accompany the application. The actual requirement of what must be deposited depends on the nature of the work.
- The copyright is registered as of the date it is received at the Copyright Office.
- A Certificate of Registration is forwarded by the Copyright Office to the owner confirming that the work is registered.
Term of Copyright Protection
The length of the term of copyright protection depends on the date of original creation. Works created on or after January 1, 1978, have a term of the author’s life plus an additional 70 years. If the work was created by more than one author, the term lasts until 70 years after the last surviving author’s death. In the case of works made for hire or anonymous works the term is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter. Terms for work created before January 1, 1978, vary according to various criteria.