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How may I protect my original works under U.S. copyright laws?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2022 | Intellectual Property

United States law allows creative professionals to protect their original works. As noted on, “works” may include photos, books and software programs. Any audio or visual work that you create reflecting a “tangible form of expression” qualifies for copyright protection.

Under U.S. copyright law, you may stop others from using your creative work without your permission. Musicians and songwriters, for example, may prevent others from copying and selling their songs or audio recordings.

How do I obtain the rights to protect my works?

Common copyright law recognizes your original work based on when you first created and published it. If, for example, you completed writing a book and posted it for sale online today, the law automatically recognizes your authorship. Common copyright law, however, may not allow you to file a lawsuit to protect your book from unauthorized reproduction.

To enforce your legal right to stop others from recreating or selling your works, you must register them for copyright protection. Once registered, and with an on-file copy deposited at the U.S. Copyright Office, you gain the exclusive rights to use your work. You may also stop others from infringing on your rights to your work.

How may copyright registration stop infringement?

If individuals or businesses wish to use your registered works, they must first request your permission. Without your permission, you may file a legal action to force them to stop using or copying your work.

You could also provide consent to use your registered works. You may also request a contract outlining the terms of use. You could, for example, request compensation for a reproduction of your song used in a movie soundtrack.

U.S. Copyright laws provide protection from unauthorized use or reproduction of your original works. After registration, your rights may last for your lifetime plus 70 years after your death.