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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. 

Get the Legal Help You Need

To arrange a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us online or by telephone at 484-272-5133.