As part of our Software & Copyrights practice, we provide copyright registration services.

A copyright provides protection for original works created by the author. Subject to certain legal exceptions, copyrights protect the exclusive right to copy and distribute a creative work for a period of time. Copyright protection automatically exists in common law. However, to enforce your exclusive rights through copyright litigation, registration is required.

Our copyright attorneys provide copyright registration, maintenance, and enforcement services to protect and preserve your intellectual property rights.

Importance of Copyright Registration

Copyright registration is a legal formality to create a public record and provide constructive notice of rights in a work. Federal registration is through the Library of Congress. Although copyright registration isn’t required for protection, it is likely necessary to file a lawsuit in U.S. court for copyright infringement. Additionally, the ability to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees will depend on the timing of registration. Therefore, a you should file a registration quickly after publication, if you intend to challenge copyright infringers. Additionally, registration may allow the owner of a copyright to record the work with the U.S. Customs Service. This helps protect against the importation or exportation of potentially infringing copies of the work.

Registration Process

Copyright prosecution may seem easy, but there can be complexities. We work with clients to obtain the necessary information to properly file applications for registration. There are important considerations and information that must be included in all copyright applications, such as:

  • All contributors to the work and each individual contribution

  • Work made for hire considerations

  • Author is employee or owner

  • Is an author deceased

  • Published or not

  • Use of public domain material

  • Inclusion of a piece of a prior work

  • Assignment or other conveyance

Once an application is filed electronically with the Copyright Office, the time period for examination can take several months to a year. However, examination could take much longer if an application is filed in paper form.

Our copyright attorneys advise on copyright registration as well as the protection and enforcement of copyright rights. They also provide a Flat Fee Copyright Application Option, to help with budgeting legal fees.

What is Copyrightable?

Copyright registration is available for unique works of authorship, such as:

  • Computer Software and Code

  • Gaming Works

  • Visual Arts Works, including Hand Drawings, Cartoons, and Paintings

  • Images and Photograph Works

  • 3-D Designs, Monuments, and Sculptures

  • Written Matter, such as Recipes, Menus, Screenplays, Poems, and other Literary Works

  • Sound Recordings, such as Musical Arrangements and Movies

Other Forms of Copyright Protection

In addition to copyright registration, our intellectual property attorneys also assist with protection of unique, creative copyrights works through:

  • Licensing Copyrights

  • Copyright Agreements and Contracts

  • IP Due Diligence Reviews

  • Monitoring for Infringement

  • Enforcement through Cease and Desist Letters

  • Monitoring of Social Media

  • Counseling on IP Rights and Best Practices of IP Use

  • Copyright Litigation as well as Litigation Defense

Additional Insights Regarding Copyright Registration Law

For more information on copyright registration legal issues, see our Legal Insights and Industry Solutions pages.