Businesses frequently use copyrights to protect various types of intellectual property including written content, music, artistic or graphic works, and more.
The process of obtaining a copyright is easy. But to further reinforce ownership of original content, many individuals and businesses choose to register their copyrights with the federal government and other international legal jurisdictions – and that's where the cost of copyrighting begins to really add up.
Although there is an expense associated with copyrighting, without copyrights your original works could be vulnerable in the public domain. If the possibility of losing exclusive rights to a piece of material is simply unacceptable, you'll need to seriously consider coming up with the cash to pursue an airtight copyright in the U.S. and around the world.
Obtaining a Copyright
Most entrepreneurs don't realize that copyrights are free. That's right – you don't need to spend a dime to obtain copyright for your original material. In fact, you automatically have a copyright on your material at the moment of its creation. Unless it was created in a "work for hire" arrangement, you aren't required to take any additional steps to copyright your original work.
Even though it won't cost you anything to copyright your work, registering your copyright is a different story. A copyright registration serves as legal proof of ownership for a specific piece of work and can significantly bolster your position in a copyright infringement case. It costs $35 to register a copyright online with the U.S. Copyright Office (or $50 to register with a barcode form; $65 to register with a simple paper form). Even though the costs aren't significant, we recommend filing your copyright online since the waiting period for online registration is 9 months compared to 22 months for a paper application. International copyright registration requires additional fees based on the filing processes in specific foreign jurisdictions.
Copyright Attorney Fees
Copyright attorneys charge approximately $250 per filing. This may sound like an unnecessary expense, but if your copyright involves multiple authors, international registration, or other complications, it may be money well spent.