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Copyright Application

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While submitting a copyright application is not mandatory, there are many benefits that you can get after registering your copyright lawfully. Copyright application and registration is the process of maintaining a record of your copyright with the United States Copyright Office. Once you submit your copyright application for registration, the copyright office administrators will mail you a certificate verifying your registration.

What Do We Mean by Copyright?

Described as the property privilege of an original work possessed by a person, copyright is one of the prominent intellectual property rights that allow the holder to distribute, reproduce, perform publicly, and exhibit the copyrighted work.

The displayed work may include music, literature, art, photography, computer programs, or cinema/film. And unlike a product trademark, a copyright is automatically applied when you make a creative work. A copyright is usually indicated by the © symbol, which can be positioned on a genuine piece of art or literary work that has been made.

Who Can Make a Copyright Application?

The originator of the work and the individual who has acquired ownership of the original work can make a copyright application. It would generally be known as ‘work made for the organization if the stated piece was created during the employment. In such a circumstance, the worker cannot be deemed the work's creator or author, and the ownership goes to the organization.

On the other hand, if two individuals have made a literary or art piece, they acquire co-ownership of the copyright unless the concerned individuals like the opposite. In addition, people of any age, including a minor, can make a copyright application. And the individuals who can make a copyright application are as follows:

  • The originator of the work
  • A representative who has been allowed to work on behalf of the people above.
  • Any individual claiming to have received ownership privileges from the originator of the original work

Copyright Application Overview

To make a copyright application for registration, you must submit three things to the Copyright registration authorities:

  • A duly filled and signed copyright application form. In most circumstances, you can mail a paper application or submit an online form. Online applications have lower registration fees and quicker processing times than written applications.
  • An application charge for paper forms or online forms.
  • Reproductions of the work you are documenting.

Generally, you must present one copy of an unpublished work originally published outside the United States and two documents of a published work.

How to Submit Your Copyright Application

You can present your copyright application via mail and online, and the procedures for filing a copyright application through these two processes are as follows.

  • Online Application

    Approximately 95% of copyright registration applications are submitted online. And numerous benefits of applying for copyright online are as follows:

    1. It is more affordable
    2. You make a decision fast
    3. You can follow the progress of your copyright application

    In addition, to apply online, log in to the Copyright Office registration portal and tap on the tab that says "Log into the eCO (Electronic Copyright Office) Registration System." On the next window, click on the option "If you are a new user, tap here to register." Follow the specified instructions and submit your copyright application.

  • Paper Application

    If you wish to make a copyright application via email, log on to the "Forms" page of the United States Copyright official website. On this webpage, you can review if you're qualified to submit a paper application and download a pdf of the copyright application form. However, note that there is a list of work you can register for only by paper application and not online. These include:

    1. Mask works (3D designs fixed on a semiconductor chip)
    2. Vessel structures
    3. Works for which the copyright was revived as a component of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act 1994.

    In addition, the renewal of copyright application must also happen via mail. Below are some respective links to paper application online forms for some other kinds of work:

    1. Literary works
    2. Visual arts
    3. Single serial issues
    4. Performing arts, including motion pictures
    5. Sound arts
    6. Group registration of serials

    Furthermore, you can also employ the "Form Request" page to ask the Copyright Office to mail you the relevant paper copyright application form.

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What Is the Copyright Application Fee?

Submitting your copyright application fee is the second step when registering for a copyright. The fees you must submit a copyright application form are as follows:

  • Online Application

    The copyright registration fee for a primary online application is:

    1. $35 for one creation, where you are the sole creator and the work is not created "for hire."
    2. $55 for all other fundamental claims

    The Copyright authorities accept online payment via debit card, credit card, or Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit.

  • Paper application

    The registration fee for paper applications is $85 for a primary claim for most kinds of literary and artistic work. Moreover, for paper applications, the Copyright authorities accept a money order or check made payable to the "U.S. Copyright Office." Furthermore, applicants can also pay the copyright application via a deposit account.

    Even when you register for copyright online, you must submit a hard copy of your creation via email. Moreover, you can only present your copyright work online if it is:

    1. Published solely in electronic form, or
    2. Unpublished

    Besides, you must maintain replication of your work on your accessible network drive or a hard drive, as you'll need to skim through the drive to upload the required documents. Also, you can submit multiple files with the same copyright application after formatting them in one of the Copyright Office's permitted file types.

    And if your copyright creation is issued in hard copy, you must present two physical copies of the "best edition" of your creation to the Library of Congress within three months of your creation publication.

Key Terms

  • Fair dealing or fair use: Actions permitted about copyright creation under statutory laws are termed fair dealings. However, what constitutes 'fair use may vary from nation to nation but normally includes private and educational study, use, and news publishing or broadcasting.
  • Intellectual property: A development of the mind, including trademarks, copyright works, and patents.
  • Trademark: A symbol, name, or other instrument determining a company or product. Trademarks are documented via patent or national trademark offices and lawfully limit the use of the instrument to the owner.
  • Creative Commons: Creative Commons is an institution that presents licensing data to accomplish a joint transmission and flexible approach to copyright application.


Even though it has been specified that there is no need to make a copyright application, copyright owners should ensure making an application as it can prove valuable in future disputes. And if you are seeking professional help for your copyright application, our expert attorneys at ContractsCounsel are there to help you to ensure all your artistic and literary work remains protected.

ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.

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