Where to Copyright

In the United States, the United States Copyright Office accepts registrations. For works created in the US by US citizens, a registration is also required before an infringement suit may be filed in a US court. Furthermore, copyright holders cannot claim statutory damages or attorney's fees unless the work was registered prior to infringement, or within three months of publication.

In the United Kingdom and elsewhere, commercial services provide a registration facility where copies of work can be lodged to establish legal evidence of a copyright claim. In the UK, there are also requirements to file certain published works with the British Library and, on request, the five legal deposit libraries.

For other countries, see our Copyright Office guide and locator tool. If you wish to copyright a website or blog, look into c-Site Copyright Services from GoDaddy.com .

Where to copyright

Copyright – This site will show you:

Some background

Copyright – symbolized "©" – is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Generally, it is "the right to copy", but also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, who may financially benefit from it, and other, related rights. It is an intellectual property form (unlike the patent, the trademark, and the trade secret) applicable to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete.

Copyright initially was conceived as a way for government to restrict printing, the contemporary intent of copyright is the promoting the creation of new works by giving authors control of and profit from them. Copy rights have been internationally standardised, lasting between fifty to a hundred years from the creator death, or a finite period for anonymous or corporate creations; some jurisdictions have required formalities to establishing copyright, most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a by civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions. See our list of copyright durations by country.

Most jurisdictions recognize copyright limitations, allowing "fair" exceptions to the creator's exclusivity of copyright, and giving users certain rights. The development of digital media and computer network technologies have prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions, introduced new difficulties in enforcing copyright, and inspired additional challenges to copyright law's philosophic basis. Simultaneously, businesses with great economic dependence upon copyright have advocated the extension and expansion of their copy rights, and sought additional legal and technological enforcement.

What is a "Poor Man's Copyright, and is it advisable?

Poor man's copyright

A widely circulated strategy to avoid the cost of copyright registration is referred to as the "poor man's copyright".

It proposes that the creator send the work to himself in a sealed envelope by registered mail, using the postmark to establish the date.

This technique has not been recognized by any United States court. The United States Copyright Office makes clear that the technique is no substitute for actual registration. The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office discusses the technique, but does not recommend its use. The same has been postulated for patents - a caveat: if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Protect your work properly!

LegalMatch finds you EXCELLENT lawyers for free!