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How long is a copyright good for in the United States?

  • 70 Years. Works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.

What does a copyright protect?

Common things you can protect

  • Written works (books, articles, blogs, screenplays)
  • Musical and Dramatic works (songs, plays, and choreography)
  • Artistic works (photographs, paintings, and sculptures)
  • Software (computer systems, games, and applications)

Things you CAN NOT protect

  • A Names, Titles, Short Phrases, or Expressions (See trademark)
  • A Company Logo (See trademark)
  • A Phrase (See trademark)
  • An Idea, Method, or System (Patent)
  • Commonly Known Information
  • Choreographic Works

Why should you register your copyright?

  • Establishes a public record of your original work
  • Allows you to take action against use without your permission
  • Recover statutory damages and attorney fees if successful in court

To register a mark, submit a completed application form, and a nonreturnable copy or copies of the work to be registered…along with submission of the appropriate filing fee.

Can I do it myself?

Yes, you can try.  You own the copyright to your work as soon as you create it.  It does not have to be published to be protected.

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