Registering Multiple Copyrights

How much can I copyright in one order?

Technically you may register as many works as you’d like at one time for copyright protection, as long as they all share certain characteristics. This can help save you money in the long run by allowing you to combine your songs, photographs, or poems into fewer copyright filings. So, what exactly can be filed together? Read on to learn more about the criteria for registering multiple works at once, or skip ahead to see examples of what can and cannot be registered for copyright protection together.

The same type of creative work

First, everything must be the same sort of work. You can copyright many songs at one time, or many photographs. But you cannot copyright a combination of songs and photographs together.

Different types of creative work are filed in different ways with the US Copyright Office and therefore cannot be combined and filed together.

Copyright Ownership

Next, the ownership of each individual work must be the same. If you are registering a copyright for photographs, for example, this probably won’t be a big issue. Chances are that you took all of the photographs and that you own them. For most of our customers, the issue of ownership isn’t an issue at all. Still, there are some copyright registration situations where ownership of the copyright does come in to play.

If you are in a band and looking to copyright your songs, you will need to determine with your band who owns the copyright to those songs. If you wrote the songs yourself but the band helped you perform the songs, you might retain ownership of the copyright to those songs. Or you might share the copyright with your band, especially if you are registering the copyright for the sound recording. As far as the copyright office is concerned, it doesn’t matter who owns the copyright as long as the ownership is consistent for each of the songs that you are copyrighting.

Another time that ownership comes into question is when the artist has been commissioned to complete the work for another party. For example, if you photographed a couple’s wedding, who owns that copyright? (Most photographer contracts stipulate that photographer retains ownership of the copyright). Or, if you commissioned a work from an artist, do you own the copyright?

Whenever creative work has been commissioned from the artist there is typically a contract involved which identifies who will own the copyright to the work. During our application process you can even upload a copy of the contract in order to show who owns the copyright.

Copyright Authorship

In copyrights, authorship refers to whoever created the work of intellectual property, be it a song, novel or film. When you register your copyright with Click and Copyright we ask you to identify the authors of the work and to briefly describe their contribution.

A common example of a work with more than one author would be a song where one author writes the music and another author writes the lyrics. When registering your copyright, Click and Copyright makes it easy to identify each author.

The same ownership and authorship for each work.

In order to register copyrights for multiple works in one filing or one order, the ownership and authorship must be the same for each work. For ownership, this means that whoever owns one of the works being registered must own all of the works being registered. For authorship, this means that the same individuals must have contributed in the same way for each of the works being registered for copyright protection.

Examples of individual works that can be registered together.

The following examples help illustrate what types of things you can file together for copyright protection.

My band recorded an album. Can we file the entire album at once, or do we have to file each song separately?

If the authorship and ownership are the same for each song than yes, you can register the copyright for the entire album as a single copyright filing. But if you are a 3-piece punk band and there’s one song that you, the singer, wrote and recorded alone as an acoustic song, you will have to register your copyright for that song separately from the rest of the album as the authorship will differ from the rest of the songs.

If you had a guest artist help you write one of the songs and perform with you on the recording, that song would have to be filed separately as well. You could still register the copyright for the remaining songs on the album as a single copyright filing.

Can I copyright photos from several different photo shoots together in one filing?

As long as you own the copyright to the photos, yes, you can copyright them all together. If your photo shoots were for clients and your contract with the client gives the client ownership of the copyrights, than you should not copyright those photos.

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