How to Register Copyrights with the United States Copyright Office? : Patent Law Firm in Houston Texas
How to Register Copyrights with the United States Copyright Office
Copyright protection is part of the intellectual property law that gives the owner of the copyright the sole right to produce copies of their work, publish them and even produce derivative works. Filing for a copyright for your work comes with numerous advantages, but the process can be quite tedious. It requires one to be keen and patient. Usually, any small mistake can lead to the process taking up to a year to be corrected. Here is a guide by www.pandapatent.com on how to register copyrights with the United States Copyright Office.
The first step is to determine whether your work meets the requirements that qualify it for copyright protection. The rule of thumb here is that your copyright should protect an expression. The works that you can copyright can be architectural, dramatic, musical or artistic. Ideas, discoveries, inventions, and methods do not qualify as content that can be copyrighted. Once you know that you can copyright your work, determine whether you are eligible to claim copyright for the work or not. While the author of some work can hold the copyright to the work general, some situations make one ineligible to copyright the content. If you are an employee and the work is part of your jurisdiction or if the material is “work for hire,” then you cannot claim a copyright on it.
Decide the means you are going to use for your application. You can register digitally or by mail. The two channels have some variations.
Digital copyright registration
The time it takes for the process to be complete is 3 to 5 months. The requirements for digital registration of copyrights include:
• You must submit a file type that is eligible for electronic filing and acceptable by the United States Copyright Office.
• You must be registering work created by an individual and not a group
• The work must not have been published yet. You can only register online if the work has been published electronically.
• You must have an email address
If you have met all these requirements, the first step is to create an eCO account with the Electronic Copyright System. When you log in, click on the “forms” button and select the right form. Literary works are registered with form TX, visual arts works with form VA, performing arts with form PS, single serials with form SE and recordings with form SR. After obtaining the right form, fill it completely and accurately. As highlighted earlier, a small error in the application can lead to the delay of the registration for months and even a year.
The next step is to prepare the filing fees. You can check the United State Copyright Office’s website or contact their office to know the applicable fee amount. Since you will be applying online, you will be required to pay the fee using your credit card, debit card, band deposit or through electronic bank transfer. If the application is via mail, then you can prepare a money order or a check with the subject “Register of Copyright.”
The next thing is to prepare the work you want to copyright. Ensure that you have clear error-free copies of your work. The application page you are on will prompt you to upload and submit your work. Upload an electronic copy if your work meets these conditions:
• The work has not been published yet
• If the work has been published, then it should have been published electronically
• If the deposit requirement is an identifying material from a published work
• Published works which have exclusive agreements that will require a separate hard copy of the work to be sent to US Copyright Office
It is possible to submit an electronic application if you deposit hard copies of your work. If you do this, ensure that you obtain a shipping slip from eCO, print it and sent it together with the hard copy of your work.
After submitting your application, you can always review and monitor your application online from your eCO account. You can then expect to obtain your copyright certificate in 3 to 5 months.
Applying via mail
Paper applications are suitable if the work is by a group and the file type is not eligible for electronic submission. The types of forms to be used for the various types of jobs are similar to the ones used when filing an electronic application. The application form should be filled accurately and precisely with black ink only.
After completing the form, print clear copy of the work and prepare the application fee. Again, confirm the application fee with the US Copyright Office as the fee differs from the amount paid when filing electronically. Ensure that the work is appropriately secured. After obtaining all the required material, submit them via mail to the United States Copyright Office. With this method, you will not get a confirmation mail. At this point, you can expect your certificate to be mailed to you electronically in 5 to 8 months.