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Information You Need To Know Before You File A Copyright Application

by | Jan 31, 2020 | Copyrights, Intellectual Property

Filing a copyright application can seem like an easy process until you get stumped. So here are a few issues to think about before you complete the application:

  • What type of work are you trying to register?
    • Literary Work – books, poetry, directories, catalogs, computer programs
    • Work of the Visual Arts – photos, fine, graphic and applied art; maps, technical drawings
    • Sound Recording – audio recordings fixed in a phonorecord, CD, cassette, vinyl, audio tape or digital audio file
    • Work of the Performing Arts – musical work, dramatic work, pantomime or choreographic work
    • Motion Picture/AV Work – films, television shows, videos
    • A single serial issue – an individual issue of a serial publication
  • What is the title of the work?
  • What are the names of the author(s) and the author(s)’ date of birth, nationality, and citizenship?
  • Was any element or part of the work completed at the request of or on behalf of the author? Be able to explain who completed different parts of the work at the request of the author.
  • What date was the work first distributed to the public?
  • What date was the work first distributed in the United States?
  • What are the names and addresses of the creators of the work? Do any of the creators wish to remain anonymous?
  • Is copyright being claimed in any name other than that of the author(s) (e.g., a corporation, a limited liability company)?
  • Has a copyright registration for an earlier version of this work already been obtained from the US Copyright Office?
  • Are there any preexisting works that were included in this work (e.g., photographs, quotes from other authors, artwork from other authors)?

These are just a few of the topics you need to be prepared to address as you complete a copyright application. If you don’t complete the application correctly, you may get a call from the copyright examining attorney or a refusal to register.

The US Copyright Office provides excellent resources on their website for those who attempt to file their own copyright applications. 

If you get confused or have a complex issue, you can always ask an intellectual property lawyer to file the application for you.


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