Copyright Rules Regulations and Frustrations

Copyright Applications

This blog is an expansion of BPL’s July 9, 2020 blog on Copyright Registrations in an effort to further help you understand the copyright process.

It Can Be Complex

The process of applying for a Copyright Registration, according to the United States Code, is as follows:

To procure US Copyright Registrations, the creator/owner of the original work(s) of authorship must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression. 17 United States Code 102.

Simplifying The Code

Let’s consider that statement in normal-speak instead of legalese.

  • The “creator/owner” can be self explanatory, as is the “original work.”
  • Depending on circumstances, the creator is not always the owner.
  • “Authorship” means somebody needs to create the original work.
  • The “tangible medium of expression” can be anything from a physical copy of the work, such as a book or a painting, to a digital copy, such as a computer file or an online video.

With that information, you now know that once there’s a copy of the work (tangible medium of expression), you as the creator/owner will need to file a Copyright Application with the Copyright Office to procure a Copyright Registration.

Benefits Of A Copyright Registration

The application must include information about the work, such as the title, the author, and the date of creation. Once the application is filed, the Copyright Office may issue a Copyright Registration. They usually do, but not always. Also, Copyright Registration is not required to secure a Copyright, but it does provide a number of benefits, including the ability to sue in federal court for Copyright infringement and statutory damages.

Selecting The Correct Copyright Application Form May Not Be Straight Forward

You didn’t expect anything at the Copyright Office to be simple or easy did you? There are different types of authorships which  require different Copyright Office paper forms or digital portals.

Principal Categories of Copyright Applications

  • Literary Works
  • Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Motion Pictures
  • Digital Works not otherwise categorized
  • Photographs

Copyright Office Forms/Digital Portals

Literary Works (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Articles, Periodicals)

  • Literary Work (Form TX)
  • Serial Publications (Form SE)
  • Form CON

Performing Arts (Music, Lyrics, Sound Records, Scripts, Stage Plays)

  • Works of the Performing Arts (Form PA)
  • Sound Recordings (Form SR)
  • Form CON

Visual Arts (Artwork, Illustrations, Jewelry, Fabric, Architecture)

  • Visual Arts Work (Form VA)
  • Form CON

Motion Pictures (Movies, TV Shows, Video Games, Animation, Videos)

  • Works of the Performing Arts (Form PA)
  • Form CON

Group Copyright Applications

1. Group Registration for Works on an Album of Music (GRAM) –

Group Registration of musical works, recordings, photos, artwork and liner notes that are published on the same album

2. Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works (GRTX) –

  • Digital Works not otherwise categorized (Computer Programs, Databases, Blogs, Websites)
  • Group Registration of Published Photographs
  • Group Registration of Short Online Literary Works

3. Group Registration of Unpublished Works (GRUW) –

  • Photographs (News Photographs, Selfies, Wedding Photographs, Family Photographs)
  • Photographic Databases

If you want to secure a copyright on your original works and need assistance filing your Copyright Applications, contact BPL we would be happy to handle this task for you.

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