Filing Your Copyright Online

Filing a copyright registration form is a critical step in protecting your rights to original works. But the fastest and cheapest way to do it may be online.

Many businesses don't realize that they own a copyright on their original works at the moment they are created.

Copyrights are automatically assigned to many types of literary or artistic works regardless of whether they are published or unpublished. No additional steps are required – when your business creates a piece of original material, you simultaneously create a copyright.

However, adequately securing your copyright is a different matter. To improve your ownership position in your copyright, federal law allows you to register it with the U.S. Copyright Office. Even though it's not required, registration can provide substantial benefits, especially if your work becomes the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Copyright registration and other issues are covered by the Copyright Act of 1976, which designates the federal government (and by extension the U.S. Copyright Office) as the official recorder of copyright registrations. There are several ways to submit an application for a U.S. copyright, but the simplest and most direct way to do so is by filing your copyright online.

What are the benefits of online registration?

Online copyright registration is quite simply the easiest and most efficient way to record your copyright. The U.S. Copyright Office encourages filers to take advantage of online submission because it streamlines the process and saves the filer time, money, and hassle.

What is the filing process?

To file an online copyright application, visit the electronic Copyright Office section of the Copyright Office at This section provides complete instructions for online filings and walks you through the form, material uploading, and payment requirements. Once your form has been filed, you will have the ability to track its progress online.

What are the online filing fees?

The fee for filing a copyright application online is $35. This is much less than the fee associated with filing the Copyright Office's fill-in form ($50) or a paper form registration ($65).

What is the wait time associated with an online filing?

One of the major benefits of an online copyright application is that it reduces the wait time from as much as 22 months down to 6 months or less. The reduction in wait time alone is enough motivation for most business copyright filers to pursue online registration.

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