What is a Copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection for intellectual property (other forms include
patents and trademarks). A copyright is a person's exclusive right to reproduce,
publish or sell his or her original work of authorship (or intellectual property).
The work of authorship must be in tangible form. This means that copyright can apply
to a song, a written work, a photograph, a film or a graphic design. Copyright protection
does not apply to abstract ideas, or to names or titles.
Do I have to copyright my work?
No. It is your intellectual property, and you can do with it what you wish. However,
in the event that someone steals your intellectual property and uses it as their
own, without a copyright registration you will have nothing on which to base a lawsuit.
Registering your copyright for your intellectual property protects you and your
What is a "poor man's copyright"?
This is the process of mailing your intellectual property to yourself and using
the date on the postmark to verify the date that you created that specific piece
of intellectual property. This is not a sufficient way to copyright your work, as
there is no language in US copyright law that supports the practice of Poor Man's
Copyright. The only way to get full legal protection for your intellectual property
is by registering your copyright with the US Copyright Office.
How can I get a trademark?
This is not a service that we currently provide. Please contact the US Patent &
Trademark Office at 800-786-9199 for further details on trademarks. You may also
want to search for an Intellectual Property Attorney in your area.
What types of intellectual property are able to be copyrighted?
Original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium are eligible for copyright
protection, regardless of whether or not that work has been published. This includes
recordings, compositions, videos, photographs, paintings, software, website designs,
poetry, sheet music, books and more.
Words and short phrases such as names, titles and slogans (this includes titles
to books, plays, etc.) can be protected by trademark registration, but these short
phrases cannot be protected by copyright. Ideas, plans, methods, systems or devices
cannot be copyrighted. Blank forms, such as time cards, graph paper, checks, scorecards,
address books, order forms or other similar types of intellectual property, which
are designed to record information and do not themselves convey any information,
are not eligible for copyright protection. Intellectual property, such as standard
calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures, rulers, schedules of sporting
events, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources
are not eligible for copyright protection. Certain logos, if they consist of primarily
text, cannot be copyrighted.
How can I tell if my logo can be copyrighted?
Logos need to have a significant amount of original authorship in order to be copyrighted.
For more information, see our
logo copyright test.
Can I upload a PDF of my physical book if I’ve already been published?
No. If you’ve been published, you should mail Click and Copyright two copies of
the most recent printed version of your book. If your book is only offered in e-book
format, you can still upload the most recent version.
What happens to my work once I mail/upload it to you?
If you upload your work, we will electronically submit it to the US Copyright Office.
If you mail your work to us, if it is a type of work that can be scanned and electronically
submitted, we will do so. If not, we will mail your work to the US Copyright Office
and track its delivery.
Am I protected in the time before I get the certificate from the Copyright Office?
You are protected as of the date the US Copyright Office receives your work. If
you order our Verified package, we will track the delivery of your package and provide
you with a certificate showing the date they received your work.
What file types are accepted?
Click and Copyright accepts most major and popular file types for music, text and
images. Please review our list of
accepted file types.
What happens if I upload something that isn’t in an accepted file type?
We will send you an email to alert you that you’ll need to convert your file. You
should closely monitor your email for correspondence from Click and Copyright.
I requested USPS 2-3 Day Priority Mail, and it took longer than 3 days. Why?
Due to the threat of terrorism, all mail addressed to the US Copyright Office is
rerouted to an offsite screening facility. This adds a few days to the shipping
time; this is standard procedure and no cause for alarm.
I obtained a copyright, and then I had my book edited. Do I need to file for another
No. If your work has undergone substantial content changes such as adding a chapter,
you would need to file again to have the new content protected, but minor editorial
changes such as spelling corrections do not require a new copyright filing.
How long does it take before I hear back from the Copyright Office?
In the case of electronic uploads, most people hear back from the US Copyright Office
in 3-5 months. In the case of mailed submission, most people hear back from the
US Copyright Office in 5-8 months. The wait time for submissions mailed in prior
to May of 2009 is around 18-20 months. However, keep in mind that your copyright
protection begins the date that the US Copyright Office receives your work.
Can you help me publish my book?
While Click and Copyright does not publish books, we have partnered with
Published.com to provide authors with valuable
tools to help them better understand the world of publishing.