Copyright Registration in the USA – An Overview

Copyright Registration in the USA
Karan Singh
| Updated: Jan 19, 2022 | Category: Copyright

Copyright Registration intends to safeguard the intellectual property of the creator or authors like songs, books, literary works, and such artistic expression which can be subjected to mistreat by an illegal 3rd person for their benefit or profit, which can prove to be a loss for the actual owner who creates such an Intellectual Property. Also, Copyright protection can go beyond national boundaries. The application for Copyright Registration in the US is very different from India. It’s a cost benefitting strategy to obtain the Copyright registered for situations or conditions that can prove to be a wrongful or unfair loss for the actual owner. Scroll down to check more information on Copyright Registration in the USA.

Copyright Registration in the USA – A brief

In the United States of America (USA), the Copyright shall be safeguarded in the following conditions or situations as laid under the provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976;

  • If it is unique or original or new;
  • In a tangible form, it can be easily produced & seen.

The Copyright Registration only safeguards the expression of the idea and not the idea itself; the owner cannot Copyright ideas, facts, but only the way it has been presented if the original can be granted protection.

Why is it Advisable to Obtain Copyright Registration in the USA?

Copyright Registration in the USA is not required but only advisable for the following reasons:

  • It can help proceed against any 3rd party who violated the Intellectual Property of the owner;
  • It can help in establishing published data which can be helpful during cases of Infringement;
  • It permits the owner to get compensation for the actual damages and the cost of the lawsuit on the owner.

The Copyright owner can alter, modify, distribute, publicly show, and also approve others to do the same. Work can be safeguarded by the symbol of ©, mentioning the first publication year along with the Copyright owner’s name. This will help to solve any legal actions if started by you or 3rd parties concerning the involved Copyright.

Procedure for Copyright Registration in the USA

Copyright Registration in the USA can be done by:

  1. Filing the signed application form, which can be sent or submitted online mode;
  2. Or by sending the Copyright application form to the US Copyright Office along with the mentioned fee.

Enforcement of Copyright Registration in the USA

Any third party that violates the owner’s work by stealing or using can be prosecuted by the Copyright owner by complaining of such Infringement or violation. However, there is a certain exception where it would not be deemed Infringement would fall under the category of “Fair Use” of the IP; some examples of Fair Use are:

  • Essential Research of the owner’s work;
  • Commentary or report of the owner’s work;
  • Used for academic or research purposes;
  • Creation of new scholarly ideas.

Although there can be various situations that can directly affect the reputation of the owner and the moral rights of the IP owner. The owner can prevent any mutilation or destruction of their works which can show their work in a bad light.

Responsibility of the Copyright Owner in the USA

The authorities can help when the owner is actively watching the market to find out any violation. IP law in the USA is complex or complicated and should only be used when other enforcement methods have failed or not worked properly to prevent an infringement. In case, if litigation is vital, then a lawyer should be hired to take any legal action for you. The case can proceed either at administrative tribunals, civil courts or Federal Courts (If Foreign Offender).

Investigations can be carried out against the Foreign Offender before the USITC (United States International Trade Commission[1]). Registered Copyright can be useful or beneficial in case when the foreign thing which violates the Copyright has come across the United States Customs and Border Protection which can by knowing that if infringes the Intellectual Property rights of the owner, prevents any such material from entering the market in the United States of America. It’s a profitable strategy or plans to implement Copyright Registration in the USA marketplace.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is also proved to be helpful in cases of both registered and unregistered Intellectual Property Rights. It aids the owner to implement their rights cost-effectively by way of mediation & arbitration, which can include any company or individual, associations, or any party who involved themselves in the illegal use of IP.

What is the Duration of copyright Registration in the USA?

The Copyright protects the owner’s work created on or after 1978 is safeguarded for:

  • The author’s life i.e., 70+ years; only if the author is an individual;
  • 95 years from the publication or 120 years from the work creation, whichever is shorter, if a corporation or other entity.

And for all the works which were created before 1978 shall be governed by the Copyright Act, 1909, which safeguards for an initial period of 28 years & with an opportunity of renewal. If the Copyright of the published or advertised work has not been expired/renewed, it shall be free or cost-free for anyone to use and is regarded to be in the public domain.


Although it is not necessary to obtain Copyright Registration, it is advisable to obtain it and can prove to be helpful or beneficial in case of any possible future disputes. In the United States of America, the focus is more on the process of registration. The Copyright Registration cannot be done globally, but the filing of the Copyright by a member country or nation of any conventions permits Copyright in the other member nations of the Convention.\

Read our Article:Importance of International Arbitration in Copyright Disputes

Spread the love
Karan Singh

A legal writing enthusiast, a wanderer, and a zealous reader. After gaining a lot of knowledge about the diverse legal topics and developing research skills, Karan joined the league of legal content writers to deliver quality-rich blogs.


Related Articles

How to Copyright a Recipe – An Overview
| Date: Sep 06, 2021 | Category: Copyright

How to Copyright a Recipe? – An Overview

Basically, Copyright ownership gives the owner an exclusive right to use the work, with some exceptions. If an individual creates a unique work, fixed in a tangible medium, they automatically...

Read More
Types of Intellectual Property Rights
| Date: Mar 24, 2021 | Category: Copyright, Patent, Trademark

What are the Types of Intellectual Property Rights?

Intellectual Property Rights form the basis of society's improvement. Intellectual Property can be a design, magazine, book, or a different way of manufacturing something. There are different forms of Intellectual...

Read More
Copyright for Artistic Work in India
| Date: Mar 19, 2021 | Category: Copyright

A Complete Guide on Copyright for Artistic Work in India

Copyright for Artistic Work in Indian is freedom given by the Copyright Law to the creator of artistic work. It protects the creator's right over their invention or creation, subsequently...

Read More


Hi! My name is Akanksha! Let's talk.