How To Register a Copyright

Many small businesses decide to register a copyright. This is a form of intellectual property for original works of authorship. A copyright exists the moment one creates work. The creator of original works is its author.

Let’s look at the types of original works of authorship copyrights protect and how to register a copyright.

Which Original Works of Authorship Do Copyrights Protect?

  • Literary works. This includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, articles, and periodicals.
  • Performing arts. Music, lyrics, sound recordings, scripts, and stage plays may all file for copyright protection.
  • Visual arts. You may register a copyright for artwork, illustrations, jewelry, fabric, and architecture.
  • Motion pictures. This includes movies, TV shows, video games, animation, and videos.
  • Photographs. You may copyright news photos, wedding photos, family photos, and selfies.

Additional digital content which may receive a copyright include computer programs, databases, websites, and blogs.

What Cannot Receive a Copyright?

Facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operations may not receive copyright protection. Other forms of IP, like business names and logos, are not eligible for a copyright. You may file for trademark protection for these assets.

How to Register a Copyright

Here’s what you need to know about copyright registration.

Conduct a Copyright Search

This first step in copyright registration is like registering a trademark. Conduct a search through the U.S. Copyright Office’s public catalog. You may search for copyrights registered from 1978 to the present. Search by using the title, name, keyword, registration number, document number, or command keyword.

Why should you conduct a copyright search? This search ensures you are not accidentally infringing upon any existing copyrights. If you find out that your copyright is unique, you may begin filing an application to register the copyright.

Consult a Copyright Attorney

Do you have questions surrounding copyright laws? For example, you may be curious as to what the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) is and how it protects the rights of online copyright owners. Or you may have questions about the “poor man’s copyright” practice.

The best advice is to consult a copyright attorney. Review these questions, and any other questions you may have, and get the answers prior to starting the registration process.

File a Copyright Application

Registering a copyright is a straightforward process. Complete the application form, pay the filing fee, and include a nonreturnable copy of the work you plan to register. The U.S. Copyright Office notes that copies of work submitted will not be returned to owners. Only one work may be registered per application.

Need some extra help? You may work alongside a third party service like MyCorporation. We can assist you in protecting your original works of authorship with assistance in filing your copyright application and handling all necessary paperwork.

Register a copyright today. Reach out to us at to start the copyright registration process.