Registering a Copyright

Be aware that it is no longer necessary to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright protection begins the moment an original work is fixed in tangible form and extends to unpublished works.

There are, however, some reasons you may want to register your copyright:

  • Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim
  • Registration is necessary before an infringement suit may be filed in court
  • If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in
    the certificate
  • If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits

Registration may be made at any time within the duration of the copyright. Today, the decision to register a work belongs entirely to the copyright owner.

For More Information

Registering a Work FAQ -- A helpful guide to registering your work from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Online Copyright Registration -- Log in to the U.S. Copyright Office's eCO online registration system.