THE LAW OFFICES OF BRIAN S. STEINBERGER, P.A.

REGISTERED PATENT ATTORNEYS SINCE 1993

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Do I Need a Copyright?

A registered copyright is another type of deed/title identifying the ownership of another form of intellectual property. Copyright registration is through the United States Library of Congress for $85 filing fee by mail and $35 filing fee online, per work.

Copyrights protect fixed tangible original artistic expressions such as literary works, musical works including accompanying words, dramatic works including accompanying music, pantomimes, choreographic works, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, motion pictures, sound recordings, architectural works and computer program source codes. The works can be published or unpublished.

Copyrights do not protect ideas, concepts, or inventions. Nor do copyrights protect titles, names, short phrases and slogans. Works that do not contain original authorship are not eligible for protection. Calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, lists and tables taken from public documents are not copyrightable.

A copyright life owned in the author’s name is the life of the author plus 70 years. Copyrights made under a work for hire agreement (i.e. employment agreement, listing the copyright as owned by a business or company) have a life of 95 years from publication of the work or 120 years from creation of the work, whichever is shorter.

Copyright protection begins when the work is created. Registration is not needed to identify a work as being copyrighted. Authors can identify their works to be “copyrighted” with the symbol ©, the year of publication and the name of the copyright owner on the work. Registration with the Library of Congress is required in order for the owner to seek federal remedies.

Copyright applications can be submitted to the United States Library of Congress by the author, the owner, or an authorized agent of the owner. An experienced intellectual property attorney can better determine whether a work should be copyrighted. The copyright office will search their records concerning copyright status and ownership for a fee.