Updated: Aug 3, 2019
Are you a writer, screenwriter and or content creator not familiar with the copyright process?
After writing a children’s book a few years ago, I had NO clue either. The only way I knew was by doing a “poor man’s copyright.” This way is an extremely cheap route. However, after taking a course in my Creative Writing program, I found out that it is NOT acceptable in the eyes of the law and “it’s not reliable evidence.” “But you do need to be sure to register your work so you can be eligible to take advantage of the statutory damages rule that allows courts to fine people who violate your copyright.”
So, how can one go about having what they’ve written be protected by copyright? I am glad you asked!
One of the best ways to be sure that what you’ve written and more-than-likely took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to write is by copyrighting something via the U.S. Copyright Office.
And, you must ONLY register non-published works.
Registering your manuscript is simple. You can either register electronically and or by printing your application and sending via U.S. mail. You can now register up to 10 unpublished works using the new application for a “Group of Unpublished Works.”
How long does it take to have what you’ve created be protected by a Copyright? “The Copyright Office’s processing times vary based on a number of factors, including how difficult a claim is to review, whether an applicant submitted a physical deposit, whether the Copyright Office needs to correspond with an applicant, and the number of specialists available to review claims." For more information on claims that do not require correspondence, check out this link for processing times.
Have you registered something via the U.S. Copyright Office? Share your experiences by sending us an email to, firstname.lastname@example.org.