Copyright FAQ

How long does it take to obtain a copyright registration?

It typically takes 8 - 12 months to receive a copyright registration.  However, the effective date of the registration is the date the application is submitted to the Copyright Office.   

What qualifies for copyright protection?  

In order for a work to qualify for copyright protection it must constitute an original work of authorship fixed in tangible form.  Copyright protection exists when a work is fixed in tangible form and extends to literary, audiovisual, choreographic, musical, dramatic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural and architectural works, along with sound recordings.  

Why do I need a copyright registration if copyright protection automatically attaches to my work when it is fixed in tangible form?

A copyright registration provides the owner with many benefits.  These benefits include, but are not limited to, the ability to collect statutory damages, the presumption of ownership over the work and the ability to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement. 

Can I file a copyright registration to protect my software program or the content of my website? 

Yes, both software code and the content of a website qualify as literary works that are protectable under the Copyright Act. 

What is the difference between a trademark and a copyright? 

A trademark protects a term, slogan or design logo when used in commerce in connection with goods or services. A copyright, on the other hand, protects an original authorship of a work.  Slogans and logos are not protectable as copyrightable works.  

Should I include a copyright notice on my work?

Although a copyright notice is no longer required by law to preserve your copyright interest, it is always a good idea to provide notice of your rights.  A copyright notice includes the owner, date of creation of the work and either a colophon or the term "Copyright."  For example, this website includes the following notice: © 2020 Pennington, P.A. (Note: As a website content is updated, the copyright creation date should also be updated).