START SMART STRATEGY SESSION
"Creativity takes courage."
- Henri Matisse
Whether you’re an online entrepreneur whose entire business is based on your original creative works (think: blogger, influencer, photographer, course creator, etc.), or you’re just making graphics to promote your online business, you are without a doubt, creating unique expressive works for your business.
When you think about how much time, energy, and resources have gone into creating these original works, it becomes obvious how valuable they really are.
In fact, for some businesses, these works are an integral part of their branding strategy because their customers and clients associate these works with the business.
Your creative works can include:
Any written work (books, social media posts, webinar presentations, worksheets, etc.)
Any work of art (photograph, graphic, painting, drawing, sketch, jewelry design, fabric design, etc.)
Any other digital content (websites, blogs, computer programs, apps, etc.)
Any dramatic work (plays, screenplays, scripts, etc.)
Any music (compositions and sound recordings)
Any video (movies, webinars, etc.)
Any architectural work
The internet has made it easier than ever to distribute your creative works to your intended audience – it takes nothing more than a click of a button to send something out into the world. At the same time, it has also become increasingly easy for others to steal your works and financially exploit them, which is why protecting them is so important.
Your expressive works are protected as copyrights under the US Copyright Law.
While a copyright is automatically created as soon as your work is “fixed in any tangible medium of expression” (meaning, it goes from just an idea to physical execution), your most significant works should be registered with the US Copyright Office to ensure that they are broadly protected and working for your business as much as possible.
A registered copyright pre-emptively keeps infringers at bay because:
It tells the world that you are the owner of the copyright, which in turn makes your infringers “oops, I didn’t know” argument totally moot.
If someone wants to use your work, they can find out how to reach you in the Copyright Public Catalog.
A registered copyright boosts your profits and credibility because:
It gives you the exclusive right to copy your work, edit it, make other original works based on it, share it, publicly display or perform it, and commercially exploit it – the registration backs that up.
It makes it easier for you to license your creative works to others (and get paid for it!).
In some industries (like film), nobody will take you seriously unless your work is copyrighted.
A registered copyright makes enforcing your copyright rights cheaper and easier because:
If you register your copyright within 5 years of the date that it was first published, it creates a legal presumption that you are the owner of the mark and that the mark is valid, which could offer a big advantage in court.
It creates a basis for a federal copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court, which potentially provides for significantly higher monetary damages and reimbursement of legal fees.
should i even register that?
As an entrepreneur and a content creator, you should know that every original work that you create, no matter how big or how small, is valuable and it should be treated as such.
When you invest in a registered copyright, you can continue to grow your business and your brand with confidence and security in the fact that your valuable creative works are protected and that only you and the people you give permission to are benefiting from their use.
That said, registration takes time (3 months to a year, on average) and money (though probably significantly less than you think).
And, in the interest of full disclosure – (though still valuable) not every original work is worth registering with the US Copyright Office.
That is why we encourage you to thoroughly evaluate each creative work before you go through the registration process and only register the works that you have deemed significant to your current or future business interests.
In determining which works are significant, a few things you may consider are:
The amount of time and effort spent on creating the work.
How easy it is to copy and/or share this work (in general and in connection with the channels used to distribute this work).
How likely are you to enforce your copyright rights, if necessary?
How is easy is it for someone to monetize this work?
How damaging would infringement be for your business?
how it works
Evaluate Your Creative Works to Determine Which, If Any, Warrant Copyright Registration
You can do this evaluation yourself, using our "SHOULD I COPYRIGHT? DIY Copyright Evaluation
Guide & Worksheet."
You can skip this step, if you're certain that you should register this creative work.
Register Your Copyright
You can schedule a free 15-minute consultation if you have any other general copyright process questions, or you can just contact us to get started.
Afterward, we send you a client agreement (so you know exactly what to expect), an invoice for registration, and a link to a brief intake form.
You digitally sign the agreement, pay your invoice, and fill out the intake form.
We prepare your application and once you approve, we file
your application with the Copyright Office.
We walk your application through the entire registration process.
Once we receive your Registration Certificate from the USPTO, we mail it to you.
what you get
For more information on the Start Smart Strategy Session - CLICK HERE
SHOULD I COPYRIGHT? Do-it-Yourself Copyright Evaluation Guide & Worksheet.
[COMING SOON! CLICK HERE TO GET NOTIFIED.]
(If you decided to go forward with registration after Step 1.)
We prepare and file your Copyright Application with the Copyright Office and follow it through to the very end. This includes:
Routine communication with and you (to answer any questions and provide periodic status updates); and
- Routine correspondence with the Copyright Office.
Copyright Application Preparation and Filing with the US Copyright Office
$349 per application for simple written, musical, audio-visual, and artistic works (includes Copyright Office filing fee)
Please Contact Us to discuss more complicated works.
If a creative person steals your idea, he’s killing his creative ability, if he steals your art, he’s killing his art, if he makes it available to the world, it won’t create the impact you could have created, because it wasn’t from the right source .
Michael Bassey Johnson
Interested? Sign up to be notified when our Guide launches.
should i copyright?
Is your photograph, blog post, workbook, YouTube video, or course even worth copyrighting?
Is now the right time to register this creative work?
Don't even THINK about applying for
copyright registration until you know for sure.
Our DIY Copyright Evaluation Guide & Worksheet helps you sort through all of your creative works and weed out the most valuable ones, so you're not wasting any extra money or time on things that shouldn't (and can't) be registered.