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Copyright: Protect your Works

Filing a Copyright

Oscar Wilde said, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness”. However, if it is your hard work and creativity that is being imitated, flattery may feel more like a punch to the gut.

So, if you need to protect your product with copyright registration, this is the exact place you need to be. If you take a few minutes to read through this information, you will know for sure if your product is something that should and/or can be protected with a copyright and, you will know exactly what you need to do to navigate our copyright application preparation program and get your application ready to be filed.

File For Copyright Protection

What is a copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection for original works of authorship (like paintings, stories, photographs, songs) fixed in a tangible medium of expression (like paper, film, recordings). Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

Copyright is used to protect 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 operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

How is a copyright different from a patent or trademark?

Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others. But if a trademark includes artistic aspects, it could also be protected with a copyright.

So, how do you protect things that you have created, such as a poem, a song or story that you wrote? Or a painting or drawing you have created? Or even a photograph that you you took? There are many types of works that can protected under copyright law but, unfortunately, copyright protection only gives you a golden ticket to assert your rights, it does not prevent people from copying your works. What does this mean? Well, if someone copies your creation, you can (a) tell them to stop and maybe ask them for some compensation for their bad behavior and/or (b) file a law suit against the copier.

No Registration = No Protection!!

Is common-law copyright protection enough? Most likely the answer to this question is a big NO! You may have heard people say “just put your idea in a tangible medium (like on paper) and you will get common law copyright protection”. This is simply not true. For anything created after January 1, 1978, it is only protected under common-law if it has NOT been fixed in a tangible medium. For example, if you write a poem in your head and share it with others by reciting the poem, you have common-law copyrights in and to that poem. But the common-law copyrights only give you the ability to control when, where and how your poem is eventually going to be published.

But if you have fixed your work in a tangible medium, you no longer have any common-law copyright protection. Instead, you have Federal statutory protection.

Federal Copyright Protection

In order bring a civil action for copyright infringement (i.e., to sue someone that is copying your work) you MUST first file a federal copyright registration of your work.

To get statutory damages and attorney fees, you must file a federal registration within 3 months of publishing the work or within 1 month of learning about the infringement.

So, it is important to file a federal registration for your work, and it is best to do so within 3 months after it is published.

CircleThatR makes the process easy

There are just a few steps you need to go through and once we have collected and reviewed your information, we will (a) ensure that it is correct and work with you if additional information is needed and (b) depending on the service package you select, we will either file the application or send you a copy to file yourself (of course we will provide you with instructions because we are not going to leaving you hanging out there, even in a DIY world sometimes you need a little DIFM)

Please note that we cannot guaranty that we will be able to obtain a registration of your work. If it clearly does not meet the requirements of being “copyright eligible material” we will let you know. But sometimes things are on or close to the line. We will attempt to point this out to you in advance but sometimes, depending on the examiner that is assigned to your case, while we believe a work is protectable, the examiner may disagree. We will work with the examiner as much as is reasonably possible to resolve any situations but sometimes an application does not result in the issuance of a copyright certificate.

6 Easy Steps: The Copyright Registration Process

  1. Identify what your product is. We will help you identify the category or classification of your product.
  2. Identify the title and type of title of your product. This sounds easy right? Well, it can be a little complicated and so, we walk you through this process.
  3. We will also need to determine if your product has been published or not, and if so, when and how it was published. This can have an effect on the application content.
  4. We then walk you through the process to identify who the authors of your product are. The authors could be a person or organization or a combination of both.
  5. We then identify the owner of the copyright, which can be the same as the author or different.
  6. An important step is to find out exactly what the author contributed to the product. And so, we will ask a few questions about the product and allow you to select the types of contributions from a list. It will make more sense when you get to this step. It is rather straight forward.

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