101 Series – How to Prepare a Copyright Application

Copyright Registration

How to prepare a copyright application involves very few steps and provides several benefits to the registrant.

To file a Copyright Application, you need to submit a Copyright Application, along with a copy of the work and filing fee to the Copyright Office.

Since 1978, registering a work of art for copyright protection is no longer required.  While a registration is not required, a copyright registration does provide enhanced rights, including the right to collect monetary damages.  Under federal law, a timely registered copyright allows the author of the work to collect damages which are provided by law to be between $750 and up to $150,000 per work infringed.  While a registration is not required, it does provide enhanced benefits.  In addition, a copyright registration is required if you want to file a federal lawsuit against someone who has infringed your rights.

Steps to obtain a Copyright Registration

There are really only four steps to obtain a Copyright Registration:

  1. Create the work in a tangible form of expression.
  2. Prepare a Copyright Application.
  3. File the Copyright Application and pay the necessary Fees.
  4. Submit a copy of the Work to the Copyright Office.

How to Prepare a Copyright Application

A copyright application is submitted to the the Copyright Office which is housed in the Library of Congress.  The information required in How to prepare a copyright application is typically provided using a form based on the particular authorship you wish to protect.  Generally, the authorship may vary based on the work.  For example, if you are submitting a sound recording which you recorded, then you will want to prepare a copyright application based on the recording.  If you are submitting a book you wrote, then you will want to prepare a copyright application based on the authorship in the book.

To Prepare a Copyright Application the following 9 pieces of information is generally needed:

  1. The title of the work.
  2. The year the work was completed.
  3. The date and nation of first publication, if the work has been published.
  4. The name of the author or author(s), unless the work is anonymous or pseudonymous.
  5. If the claimant is different from the author, you will need to indicate the nature of the claimants rights.
  6. The name and address of the claimant(s).
  7. A description of the work being deposited with the Copyright Office.
  8. A statement excluding any unclaimed material, including any preexisting material.
  9. The name of the individual certifying the application.

Once you have prepared the application, you can filed it, pay the filing fee and submit a deposit copy of the work being registered. Because the application of the work is tied to its registration and registration, if timely made, can be significant in terms of monetary damages, it is important to prepare the application correctly.  If you would like assistance with a copyright application, please contact us at 1-888-472-0020.