Do you need to register copyright? How do you protect your work including photographs from being stolen by others?
Copyright offers protection of original works of art — creative expressions that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyrights can be obtained for many types of works, including a photograph, a computer software program, book manuscript, painting, a recorded or written piece of music or a movie. It is strongly recommended that published works of intellectual property be formally copyrighted, as it is the registered copyright itself that provides the best remedies against infringers. Registration provides you with statutory damages and you do not need to prove actual harm — just that the infringing activity took place.
Copyright protection is automatic. This means you do not need to register your work for it to be protected. However, there are several benefits to registering your work with the Copyright Office, including the opportunity to obtain statutory damages and attorneys’ fees in court.
Statutory damages are particularly important to copyright owners. They entitle successful plaintiffs to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, automatic damages that range from $200 to $150,000 per infringing work, depending on the extent of the infringement, the knowledge of the infringer and other factors. Actual damages can often be difficult and costly to prove and to calculate, so statutory damages are often a better option.
Pricing for copyright registration
The prices are in USD$
- Copyright registration in a single country: USA or Canada
Bundle: USA and Canada
- Copyright registration in both countries: USA and Canada
- Copyright registration in China
Important for Amazon sellers
Details about pricing packages
1- a completed application form;
2- a nonrefundable filing fee (we’ll pay on your behalf); and
3- at least one copy of the work being registered.
To open in a new tab, click: What’s required to file a copyright application?
Government fees for registering copyright online in the US:
- a lower filing fee ($35 for a single author who is also the sole claimant in a single work that is not made for hire, or $55 for all other online filings, compared to $85 for a paper filing).
It’s important to understand that you can still register online even if you intend to submit a hard-copy deposit simply by printing out a shipping slip to be attached to your work for delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.
Government fees for registering copyright online in Canada:
Accepting an application for registration of a copyright – C$50 ($38)
*If the application and fee are not submitted online through the Copyright Office, via the Canadian Intellectual Property Office web site, an additional fee of $15 is required.
Government fees for registering copyright online in China: $48.
We always file copyright online. Please note that we don’t file copyright registration via a paper filing.
To open in a new tab, click: What are the copyright government fees?
Keep in mind that it takes many months for the Office to examine your work and get back to you. The process can also be as brief as three months if a copyright application filed online. But a timeframe of 6 to 8 months is more realistic. And don’t be surprised if it takes as long as 9 to 10 months to be notified that your registration application has been approved.
In Canada, registration process is much quicker and usually takes less than a month. In China it also takes about two months or less.
To open in a new tab, click: How long does it take to register copyright?
There are three basic requirements that a work must meet to be protected by copyright:
- Originality: To be original, a work must merely be independently created. In other words, it cannot be copied from another. There is no requirement that the work be novel (as in patent law), unique, imaginative or inventive.
- Creativity: To satisfy the creativity requirement a work need only demonstrate a very small amount of creativity. Very few creations fail to satisfy this requirement.
- Fixation: To meet the fixation requirement a work must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Protection attaches automatically to an eligible work the moment the work is fixed. A work is considered to be fixed so long as it is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration.
These three requirements do not present a difficult obstacle to overcome to receive protection. Unlike the requirements for protection under patent or trademark law, very few works that fall within the subject matter of copyright fail to satisfy all three of these requirements.
Significantly, there is no requirement that the copyright owner register the copyrighted work with the U.S. Copyright Office or place a copyright notice on the work to obtain copyright protection for the work.
To open in a new tab, click: Requirements for copyright protection
There are many reasons why you should use a copyright notice
- Copyright notice makes other users aware that copyright is being claimed in the work.
- Notice identifies the copyright owner at the time the work was first published for parties seeking permission to use the work.
- Notice identifies the year of first publication, which may be used to determine the term of copyright protection in the case of an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire.
• Notice may prevent the work from becoming an orphan work by identifying the copyright owner and specifying the term of the copyright.
To open in a new tab, click: Should I use copyright notice?
A copyright notice does not need to be affixed to a copyrighted work for the work to be protected under the law.
A proper copyright notice consists of the following three elements.
- © Symbol: Most works should include the © symbol. (Although U.S. law also allows the word “Copyright” or the abbreviation “Copr.”, the © symbol is preferable because it is internationally recognized whereas the other terms may not be). In the case of sound recordings, the ℗ symbol (the letter “p” in a circle) should be used instead.
- Year of Publication: If the work has been published, the year of publication should be included. If the work is unpublishe