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Copyright Resources

What is a Copyright?

Copyright is a form of statutory protection provided to original works of authorship fixed in tangible medium of expression, including literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic and sculptural, motion picture and audio visual, sound recordings and architectural works. This does not protect facts or ideas.


How Long Does a Copyright Last?

The length of copyright protection depends on when a work was created. Under current law, works created on or after Jan 1, 1978, have a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years after the author’s death. If it is a joint work, the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death. For works made for hire and anonymous/pseudonymous works the protection lasts 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.


Copyright Frequently Asked Questions

What are the exclusive rights that copyright gives you?

Reproduction, Distribution, Modification, Display, Performance

Who owns copyright rights?

Author, work made for hire (employer/employee relationship, by contract), independent contractor (implications, written assignment of rights required)

What is a first sale doctrine?

A first sale doctrine is an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy notwithstanding the interests of the owner.

How long does it take to register a copyright?

If the copyright application is filed electronically along with an electronic deposit of the work it takes 2 – 8 months.

If the copyright application is filed in a paper form submission it takes 3 – 35 months.

What information is needed for copyright application?
  • Title of work
  • Type of work – book, painting, photo, lyrics, music, video, newspaper
  • Year of completion
  • Name of author(s)
  • Country of citizenship/domicile of author
  • Year author born
  • Who is going to own the copyright
  • Contact person for application
How much does a copyright application cost?

A standard application is $65, however will cost more for a collection of works. You can expect the cost to be somewhere between $45-$500.

How long is the application process?

The copyright application process can take 2-14 months.

What if there is a change in ownership?

The Copyright Office records documents related to copyright, this is known as recordation. Recordation relates to three different kinds of documents: transfers of copyright ownership, other documents relating to a copyright, and notices of termination, which authors or their heirs use when terminating certain transfers or licenses.

What is statutory licensing?

Statutory licenses are some of the limitations in the Copyright Act. They relate to certain uses of musical compositions, sound recordings, and cable and satellite programming.

Do I need to register with the Copyright Office to be protected?

No, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.

How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?

Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries and a trademark protects word, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.

If you have further questions beyond what is listed with these copyright resources, please request a consultation here: Request a Consultation

Testimonials & Reviews

In the grand scheme of things, the Copyright matter that Crystal advised me on was minor, but it was definitely outside of my comfort zone. Crystal was the first person that I thought of, when I realized I needed advice… Should you need advice with any Copyright or Intellectual Property matter, I wholeheartedly recommend that you think of her, too. Thanks for your help, Crystal!

Crystal is a very sweet, professional, and intelligent woman. She makes sure your intellectual properties are fully protected. I am very pleased thus far with MarksGray. Best wishes to you on your continued success. Protect yourself with MarksGray!

As far as I am concerned, all conversations about copyrights and trademarks begin and end with the words, “Crystal Broughan at Marks Gray.”

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