Frequently Asked Questions

What is a copyright?

A copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

What does copyright protect?

Copyright protects creations by authors. These creations may be literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, paintings, photographs, sculptures, choreography, 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 long does copyright protection last?

New copyrights (for works created after January 1, 1978) last the life of the author, plus 70 years, for individuals. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For a work for hire, or works created by a corporation/company, the company's copyright lasts 120 years from creation or 95 years from publication, whichever is shorter.

How much does a copyright application cost?

There are various government fees for different types of copyrights, but the least expensive for a simple basic matter is $45 in government fees. Professional fees for the applicaton start at $300 but may be higher depending on the type and complexity of the copyright.