How to Copyright Your Work

How to Copyright


Copyright is the legal protection given to the author for his original work in various fields like literary, music, drama, audio-visual, pictorial, graphic, academic works etc. The author or owner of the work gets the sole right to reproduce or sell his work or he can sell his rights to others who want to adapt his work in other forms.

Though copyright protection is automatic as soon as the work is created, it is always safe to register and get a copyright certification. This will help you in case of any infringement. In other words, if you suspect that someone has copied or adapted your work without your knowledge, copyright protection will help file a case against the person in the court of law. In such cases the copyright notice will serve as an evidence to claim statutory damages and the legal fees. Without legal copyright document you cannot claim that the work is yours.

Also by registering under copyright law you are making a public record of your work thereby protecting it from infringement of any type. These are some of the steps that you should take to get your work copyrighted:

  • You should apply for registering your work by submitting application at:  along with a fee and a non-returnable copy of your original work.
  • You can also apply online for registration and attach an electronic copy of your work. However if the Library of Congress requires a hard copy of your work, you must send the best edition of your work for its collection.

Once you have submitted your application, the copyright office will take an average of three months to ten months for processing the applications submitted online or in person. You will receive a certificate of copyright registration after the process is completed. The copyright office will maintain records of registrations which are available for public inspection.

Registering your work under copyright law will ensure that your work is safe from others stealing it. If your work is infringed, your claim to copyright is disputed if the other party claim that is their work. In such cases, the copyright notice or certificate acts as valid evidence in the court of law. A properly worded copyright notice will act as a warning for others trying to adapt or copy your work without your approval. The owner or author of the copyrighted work also gets benefited financially if he lets other people use his work for commercial purposes. In many European countries and the US, copyright is valid for 70 years after the death of the creator. Many categories are now being included to be protected under copyright law.