A copyright protects original works of authorship, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture. It doesn't protect ideas and discoveries (that requires a patent) nor words, phrases or designs (those are trademarks).

Copyrightable works include the following categories:
  • Literary works
  • Musical works
  • Dramatic works
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works
These categories are construed pretty broadly. For example, computer software is considered a kind of literary work.

In the United States, copyright law gives you a certain degree of protection even without registration. However, there are some important protections (such as the ability to seek statutory damages and attorney's fees from an infringer) that require your copyright to be registered with the Copyright Office.


To obtain a copyright registration, you must first file an application with the U.S. Copyright Office and submit a copy of the work you are registering.

A typical copyright application will take approximately 12-18 months for the process to be completed, longer if the work cannot be submitted in an electronic format.

In certain circumstances, we can request that the Copyright Office expedite the process, which results in a registration (assuming no substantive issues need to be dealt with) within approximately one month from the date of submission.

Our standard fee for a basic copyright application is $250 (including the filing fee). If the application needs to be expedited, the total fee for the application would be $1,050.

If you are interested in applying for copyright registration, please contact us to discuss the matter further.


To ensure proper notice to the public as to your ownership of copyright in a work, you should always place, somewhere on the work, the copyright symbol ©, followed by the year of first publication, the name of the author and the phrase "All Rights Reserved". If a work has been modified over the years, you should list the first and most recent years of publication in the notice.

You can (and should) use this copyright notice even on works that you have not yet been registered with the Copyright Office.