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Copyrights protect books, songs, photographs, and other original works of authorship. With a federal copyright registration, you establish a public record of the copyright claim, and can enforce your copyright in federal court.

Why choose LegalZoom?

  • Our service is designed and maintained by a team of experienced attorneys
  • We assemble your copyright application and file it with the U.S. Copyright Office
  • Total customer support and 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Common questions

What are the rights of a copyright holder?

The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Prepare derivative works based on the work
  • Distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, such as by rental, lease or lending
  • Perform the work publicly. This applies to literary, musical, dramatic and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Display the copyrighted work publicly. This applies to literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work

What works are protected by copyright?

Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form including the following:

  • Literary works
  • Musical works, including any accompanying words
  • Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works

These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer code and many "compilations" may be registered as "literary works." Maps and architectural plans may be registered as "pictorial, graphic and sculptural works."

Does copyright protect a name, title, slogan, logo or idea?

Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. LegalZoom can assist you in registering a trademark. However, copyright protection may be appropriate for logo art work that contains sufficient creativity. In some circumstances, a logo may receive both copyright and trademark protection.

Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your expression. Be aware that a copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work. Put simply: copyright protects expressions, not ideas.

Sample documents

View sample documents

Your final forms, documents and filings may differ depending on your state.

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