Advice, authors

How to establish a Copyright…

How to Establish a Copyright

The copyright designation signifies an original work.
Павел Игнатов/iStock/Getty Images

You automatically establish a copyright in your original work when you put it in a tangible form. While formal registration with the United States Copyright Office is not required, it does give you important advantages in the event someone uses your work without your authorization.

Copyrights Are Automatic

  • You secure a copyright for your original work of authorship the moment you put it in tangible form. While there is no copyright in an idea or concept, once that idea or concept takes shape in a tangible expression, a copyright is secured for that expression. The copyright law calls it an “original work.” You establish copyright in original works such as literary pieces, musical works, lyrics, choreographic works, pictorial pieces, sculptural works, motion pictures, sound recordings and architectural works. There is no copyright protection for ideas, concepts, names, slogans, titles, theories, processes, systems or the like.

Registration Offers Legal Protection

  • Formal registration with the United States Copyright Office is not required to claim a copyright. Formal registration does, however, provide some advantages such as providing public notice of your claim of copyright in the work. Also, if your work was created in the United States, registration is required prior to filing a lawsuit to enforce the copyright. If someone is infringing your copyright by using your original work without your authorization, registration provides solid evidence to a court that you have a legitimate claim. Additionally, timely registration enables you to claim attorney’s fees and statutory damages in court as opposed to solely the profits resulting from the infringing use.

Register Online and Deposit Work

  • You, as the owner of the original work, a company or individual who has obtained rights to the work, or a duly authorized representative can file a copyright application to secure a registration for the work. Applications to register your work can be filed on the United States Copyright Office’s website, sent by mail or hand delivered. The application consists of three parts: an application, a nonrefundable filing fee, and a “deposit” or copy of the work being registered. For example, a “deposit” of a sound recording would be an mp3 attached to an application filed online or CD accompanying an application filed by mail. While there is a schedule of fees on the website for more complex applications, you can generally expect to pay $35 or $55 when filing an online application.

Use Copyright Notice

  • You will receive an email confirming receipt when the application is filed. The copyright office will then review your application and send a letter to follow up if additional information is needed. Otherwise, you will receive a registration certificate in the mail indicating formal registration is complete or a letter explaining why registration was not granted. The copyright effective date will be the date the application was received. You do not have to wait until after registration to publish the work or place a copyright notice on it. You can provide public notice that the work comes with a claim of copyright by including the copyright symbol, year and your name on the work.


Read more :

8 thoughts on “How to establish a Copyright…”

    1. You could occasionally do an image search in google. copy a panel of your comic/cartoon into google image search and see if it shows anywhere you didn’t post it yourself. If you see them online… you can fight it or send cease and desist order at the least.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I think publishing the cartoon certainly shows some degree of ownership but I wonder if they can merely back date the use. Of course I do maintain hard copiescopies of all original drawings but wonder if they will allege I provide this proof after the fact of their use. At least original sketches are an enhanced file of evidence to present. In addition the file would contain hundreds of sketches for years of work.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. scan them in…. email them to yourself and don’t open it.. send the originals back to yourself in the mail and don’t open them.. Look up the poor man’s copywrites. There are a lot of helpful things out there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s