Copyright FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Copyrights

A copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

No, copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

Copyrights protect originals works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture.

Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operations, but may protect the way that these things are expressed.

Your work is protected the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible medium.

No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. A work must be registered if the author wishes to bring a lawsuit for infringement in the United States.

The processing time for an application varies but, generally, a certificate of registration is usually received within approximately eight months after submission.

Yes. All or part of the rights in a work may be transferred by the owner to another.

Copyright protection generally lasts for the life of the author plus seventy years. For an anonymous work or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of ninety-five years from the year of its first publication or one hundred and twenty years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first.