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Copyright Fundamentals: Register

Register Your Copyright

Why Should I register my Copyright?

Copyright law already applies to works that have not been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, so why bother to register?

Some of the benefits to registering your copyright include:

  • You must register your copyright before you can sue a potential infringer in court. 17 USC §411(a)
  • Timely copyright registration done within 3 months of the publish date, or in the case of unpublished works, within 1 month of knowledge of infringement, allows you the benefit of statutory damages and attorney's fees. 17 USC §412
  • Copyrights registered within the first 5 years of the publication date are considered prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and the facts stated in the certificate. In other words, this will benefit you in court. 17 USC §410
  • Registration of copyright creates a public record stating that you are the owner of the copyright for your work. This makes it more difficult for people to unknowingly infringe upon your rights as an author.

You can register a copyright at any time as long as the copyright has not expired.

See Registering a Copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office for more information.

See the eCO Registration System to register your copyright online.  


The Queue

The current processing time for online applications for copyright registration is up to 8 months. For paper applications it is up to 13 months.

the queue by Martin Fische is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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