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Is copyright protection automatic?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2022 | Firm News

A copyright protects work you have created, such as architecture designs, books and computer software. It is essential to understand it differs from other intellectual property because it protects creative works of expression.

You get protection from copyright the moment your creation is in tangible form. For example, you gain a copyright when you type a poem on your computer screen. It is an automatic protection, but you can also register your copyright.


Registering your copyright provides you with additional protection. In general, holding a copyright means that you own that work and nobody else can use it without your permission except in limited situations. Once you register the copyright with the US Copyright Office, you gain more legal protections and have the ability to bring a lawsuit against someone who is violated the copyright. In addition, registration provides legal documentation of ownership and makes it easier to fight infringement.

One note

Registration of a copyright must occur with the US Copyright Office through the formal process. You cannot send a copy of your work to yourself and consider it registered. This so-called poor man’s copyright is a myth and does not do anything to impact your rights. You have copyright protection immediately and do not have to do anything but you can elect to register the protection.

Copyrights are strong protection of your creative works. Keep in mind that as soon as you put your work into a tangible form, you have this protection. But to make it stronger, you should consider registering the copyright with the US Copyright Office.