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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
THE COPYRIGHT ALLIANCE
COPYRIGHT OWNER’S RIGHTS
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At what point in the creative process do you register a copyrighted work that is continuously being updated or revised, like a screenplay?
Do I have to register with the Copyright Office to be protected?
Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
How do I register my claims to copyright?
What is the difference between “Published” vs. “Unpublished” works, why does it matter, and how does the difference relate to Online vs. Print publishing?
I have this idea for a phone app, and have written out a description of the product, and have drawn some potential interface layouts. Should I register my idea with the U.S. Copyright Office?
What are the benefits of registering my work? I thought I owned my work as soon as I create it, so why do I need to pay money to register it?
Is there such a thing as the “poor man’s copyright”? If not, does the postmark date provide a creator any value?
If an image is inside of a registered work, like a book, is the image also registered? Similarly, if the registered book required a renewal registration, is the image’s registration also renewed?
What is the best method to register when I have hundreds of unpublished images from over the years, but I have no idea when they were taken?
What is the best way to register when I have hundreds of published images that I’ve taken this year?
What is the best way to register when I have hundreds of published images from over the years, but I have no idea when they were taken?
What is the Copyright Office policy regarding registration of published and unpublished works?
What is the Copyright Office’s definition of "published"?
It is unclear to many photographers what types of mediums or transactions make an image published for registration purposes? Which of the following scenarios would make an image published?
If I license an image to a client that is actually incorporated into a published work, is the publication date the date it was published or the date I sent the image to the client?
What is the rationale for having separate registration applications for published and unpublished works?
Photographers are regularly modifying old photographs, so at what point would a photograph need to be re-registered?
If a creator uses works in the public domain (e.g. Shakespeare play, the Bill of Rights, etc.), how does this affect the copyright registration application process?
Is there a way to expedite the process for receiving a Certificate of Registration, and how long does that process take?
If an author has a pending application with the Copyright Office, and now needs to expedite the process, can they do this?
If a photograph was previously registered inside of a collection or a group, and has now gained independent success, should the image be re-registered as a single work to maximize the benefits of registration?
When I’m registering a group of photographs, is it better to submit individual images, or should the images be grouped together on a one-page PDF file? If individual files are preferred, what is the best file size and type to deposit?
Since the application for registration requires the deposit to be the “best edition” of a work, what kind of deposit does the Copyright Office recommend for an online-only publication?
How long will I have to finish my online registration application once I’ve started it? In other words, is my application deleted if it is not submitted within a certain period of time?
If I have made a mistake on my registration (e.g. wrong date of publication, etc.) or I have noticed a mistake made by the Copyright Office, must I notify the Copyright Office for the registration to be valid? And, if so, how should I go about correcting this information?
Who is the best person to contact if there are problems with my specific application? For example, I have had problems with registrations being either lost or fraught with inaccuracies?
Do you have any recommendations for saving money or moving a registration application more quickly through the registration process? Are there any common mistakes by registrants that can be easily avoided?
What is the rationale for increasing registration fees?
We have been unsuccessful in depositing electronic copies of images, so we deposit by mail. Are there any plans to upgrade or simplify the technology to handle mass deposit needs?
Is the Copyright Office considering having a subscription option for fees, where a creator can register an unlimited number of works for one annual payment?
Can you please explain why the timeline for receiving a Certificate of Registration has gone from three months to eight months?