How to Copyright Your Works

BrittCopyrightIt is true that in this digital age our works are technically copyrighted upon creation.   This leads us to our first question:

 

Why copyright your works? 



 

 

The ability to seek suit for violation of your works;

The ability to collect statutory damages.

 

Based on this, other questions arise such as:

 

Isn’t copyright going away?

 

Why would I, as an educator who believes in communities of shared works, want to sue someone?

 

Are we not moving past copyright to a creative commons environment?

 

First, we are all creators of works in some form.  More than likely you or your students may create a project in the near future for which you would wish to receive rightful compensation and the ability to prevent someone else from capitalizing on your idea.

 

Second, we are educating future business owners and leaders who in some way will have licenses and rights attached to their business or career for commercial purposes.  A student’s ability to understand how to register copyrighted works should be a basic component of our curriculum and business courses.

 

Third, if your creation made it into the commercial arena, copyrighting the work would be essential.  For example, if your video is being broadcast for network programming, it would be necessary to copyright your work.

 

What can be copyrighted?

Copyrights protect the original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture that are fixed in a tangible form of expression.  This would include:

 

·         Motion pictures

·         Audiovisual works

·         Literary works

·         Musical compositions including melody and lyrics

·         Musical arrangements and derivative works

·         Sound recordings

·         Dramatic works including any accompanying music

·         Pantomimes

·         Choreography

·         Pictorials

·         Graphics

·         Sculptures

·         Architectural blueprints

 

Copyright does not protect ideas, systems, methods of operation or facts, but may however, protect the way these things are expressed. For more information, see the

frequently asked questions section of the U.S. Copyright Office website.

 

 

How do I register my works for copyright?

 

All copyright registrations are made at the U.S. Copyright Office.  The best way to register your works is via the eCO (Electronic Copyright Office) online system. 

 

It is recommended that before using the online submission process you review the following links:

Electronic submission tips

Acceptable file types for online submission

Frequently asked questions regarding online submissions

eCO Tutorial

 

The online submission process has the following advantages:

·         Lower filing fee of $35 for a basic claim

·         The quickest processing time of all methods

·         Online status tracking

·         Secure payment by credit or debit card, electronic check, or Copyright Office deposit account

·         The ability to upload certain categories of deposits directly into eCO as electronic files

  • The ability to access and upload your registration content at any time

 

The processing time to receive your registration certificate for online submissions of the required form and content is from three and a half to four and a half months. 

The processing time to receive your certificate of registration for the online submission of your form and mailing of physical content such as a CD or disc is between four and half months and seven and a half months. The effective date of registration is the day the Copyright Office receives a complete submission in acceptable form. You do not need to wait for a certificate to proceed with your publication.

 

As an alternate method, the second best registration method is using the CO form that uses a 2-D barcode scanning technology.  The U.S. Copyright Office can process these forms faster than manually submitted forms. The form can be completed on your computer, printed and submitted along with a check or money order for $50.00.

 

The processing time to receive your certificate of registration is between 18 – 20 months. The effective date of registration is the day the Copyright Office receives a complete submission in acceptable form. You do not need to wait for a certificate to proceed with your publication.

 

The other method of registration is with paper forms.  A complete list of the forms and instructions can be found at http://www.copyright.gov/forms/. 

The processing time to receive your certificate for mailing the required forms and the submission contents is 18 – 20 months. The effective date of registration is the day the Copyright Office receives a complete submission in acceptable form. You do not need to wait for a certificate to proceed with publication.

 

Fees

A complete list of the fees related to the project for which you are seeking registration can be found at http://www.copyright.gov/reports/fees2006.html.

 

Important tip:

When submitting songs for copyright registration, you are charged for the collection of works.  So, if you have 10 songs, it is best to give them an album title and spend $45.00 to copyright ALL the songs at once, versus registering them individually for $450.00.  This is perfectly legal.  The U.S. Copyright Office is charging you a processing fee to file your works.  They are NOT reviewing all of your submitted material.

 

 

If you have questions regarding registration or other copyright questions, you may contact the U.S. Copyright Office.  The U.S. Copyright Office is located at 101 Independence Ave. S.E. Washington, D.C. 20559.  For assistance by phone, call 202-707-5959 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. e.s.t. Monday through Friday.

 

You can also email your request for assistance to:

Ask a Copyright Question

 

The U.S. Copyright Office website is a fantastic resource of information and instructions to guide you through the process.  If you think you need additional assistance to navigate the registration process, Soundzabound has many years of experience and offers guided assistance to parents, teachers, students and administrators.  We can be contacted Toll Free at 1-888-834-1792 or email us at for further assistance.

 

Also, visit www.soundzabound.com/links to view a comprehensive list of links to the U.S. Copyright Office which are especially for K-12 education.

 

 


 [J1]

 [J2]