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Copyright Help

How To File A Copyright

A Step-By-Step Guide | How to File a Copyright

Joshua Julien Brouard

Joshua Julien Brouard

09 October 20233 min read

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How to file a copyright

So you're looking to file a copyright. Don't worry. In this step-by-step guide, I'll take you through exactly how to do this. Let's start with the first step, using a copyright search engine:

Step 1: Search for similar copyrights

If you're planning on creating an original work, copyright search engines can help you determine just how "original" your planned original work is. Not following? Let's look at an example:

George is a researcher working for a biotech firm. He has an idea for an excellent paper but is unsure if it's been written on and copyrighted in the past. He uses a copyright search engine to verify his idea is original and protectable. 

Not only does this protect him from a potential copyright lawsuit, but it also saves him time spent on something that has already been done.

See the value now? Why don't you try out our FREE copyright search engineJust enter the link and start searching! 

Step 2: Complete an application

Once you're confident that your original work is actually one-of-a-kind, it's time to complete your copyright filing for federal protection.

This can all be done electronically through the U.S. Copyright Office website for a fee. However, it's advisable to seek the counsel of an intellectual property attorney who can ensure that your registration is successful.

Each application you submit to the Copyright Office must include the following:

  • The online application as provided on the Copyright Office website. While you can still submit a paper application, online applications have decreased filing fees.
  • As mentioned above, you'll need to include your filing fee. Finally, ensure that you add copies of your creative work for the Copyright Office to consider.
    And don’t worry, online registrations aren’t limited. You can register your:
  • Literary works
  • Sound recordings
  • Videos
  • Computer programs
  • Paintings and drawings
  • And much more
    You can do this all through just a few clicks!

Unfortunately, the Copyright Office will take a while with your application due to the sheer number of applications they have to deal with daily.


Once this time has elapsed and the copyright registration process is completeyou'll receive a certificate of registration for your copyright.

However before this, be sure to check that you receive an email when you register your copyright online. You may also receive an email if (a) your copyright is rejected or (b) the Copyright Office has questions. They may also phone you for the latter. 

It's also for this reason that seeking legal help is advisable. A rejected application can set you back months. Getting it right the first time is crucial.

Budgeting for intellectual property protection is an essential aspect of any ambitious creator's finances. With the rise of the internet, your work is out there for anyone to view, enjoy, and even, you guessed it, steal.

Protect yourself from intellectual property thieves today by registering your copyright with us.

Did you know that you can copyright a tattoo? Learn how on our blog!


Can I file my own copyright?

Yes, you can file your own copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. However, filing with a lawyer will make the process much more efficient. In addition, a qualified attorney understands copyright law well and can ensure that your copyright application is successful.

Can anyone get a copyright?

Copyright registration is not limited to just specific individuals or types of businesses. Anyone can get their copyright registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

How do I get a copyright for free?

Technically, you get "free'" copyright protection when you create a creative work. This is protection under the common law. And it doesn't afford you the many advantages of federal copyright protection.

Do I have to pay for a copyright?

There are two different forms of copyright protection. One is protection under the common law, and the other is federal copyright protection. While the former is "free" and does afford you some protection, registration with the Copyright Office is a lot more comprehensive.

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Joshua J. Brouard brings a rich and varied background to his writing endeavors. With a bachelor of commerce degree and a major in law, he possesses an affinity for tackling business-related challenges. His first writing position at a startup proved instrumental in cultivating his robust business acumen, given his integral role in steering the company's expansion. Complementing this is his extensive track record of producing content across diverse domains for various digital marketing agencies.