How to Register a Copyright in Illinois


The United States Copyright Office is the federal agency that registers copyrights. The office provides details on how to register your work with them, including how to apply, how long it takes, and what documents are required. We have created a detailed guide that will help you to register a copyright in Illinois.

Register Before Suing

You must register with the United States Copyright Office before you can sue an infringer. You cannot just sue someone for copyright infringement without registering your copyright first. If you do not register your work, the only remedy available to you is an injunction (a court order prohibiting the defendant from infringing on your rights).

File an Application

To register a copyright, you need to file an application with the United States Copyright Office. You can do this yourself by downloading and completing Form PA (for published works) or Form TX (for unpublished works), or you may use the services of an attorney or agent. The basic filing fee for both applications is $65 per work. You should also be aware that there are additional fees associated with special services such as expedited service or online filing options. If you choose to hire an attorney or agent, they must charge no more than $200 per claim—but they may charge more if your work is extremely complex or if they have done extensive research on your behalf.

On What Basis is a Copyright Registered?

Copyrights are registered on the basis of originality, fact, and creative content. Original works are those that are made by the author and can be any work of art or literature, music, or drama. A photograph is also considered to be an original work. Facts cannot be copyrighted as they are not considered to be creative content. You can protect your name in Illinois as well as your written material from being copied by registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office.

No Automatic Registration of a Copyright

The first thing you must realize is that there is no automatic registration of copyright when you create a work. Only works that are registered are protected by copyright protection.

You can register your work with both the US Copyright Office and the Illinois Secretary of State. The benefit to registering your work with both offices is that it gives you more protection, such as statutory damages and attorneys’ fees in case of litigation.

 Have a Formal Registration

The best way to protect your copyrighted works is to have a formal registration. The United States Copyright Office allows you to register your work online and pay online, which can be done in as little as five minutes. If you want to protect the rights of your copyrighted work, it’s important that you get an official copyright registration for it.

Registering with the US Copyright Office is easy. All that’s required is filling out the application form and paying the fee. Both of these things can be done online with just a few clicks.

Copyrights are not Issued by Your State

You do not need to register your work with the state or the federal government. Copyrights are federal laws, not state laws, so you will have to register a copyright in Illinois with the United States Copyright Office (USCO).

You can fill out and submit a copyright registration form online through the USCO website. The site will walk you through the process of filling out all relevant information about your work—including its title, author(s), creator(s), date of creation, publication date, and medium—and then send off your application for processing at no cost to you.

What If your Copyrights Get Infringed?

If you believe that a copyright has been infringed upon, it’s important to get legal advice. Copyright law is a complicated area of law that involves many different factors, and while the US Copyright Office provides some guidance on what constitutes copyright infringement, there are other factors involved as well. For example, if someone steals your artwork and puts it on their own website without permission or credit from you, this would be an example of copyright infringement—unless they were making fair use of the material (more on that later). But if someone uses one of your photographs for an album cover and credits you as a “photographer,” then no harm no foul—you’re not guilty of copyright infringement because their usage was authorized by you.

Another thing to consider when dealing with potential cases for copyright infringement is the damages available in court. There are two main types: statutory damages and actual damages. Statutory damages include money awarded by default when there isn’t enough evidence to prove actual losses incurred by the plaintiff (the person who filed the suit). Actual damage awards are calculated based on the monetary loss caused by another party’s actions; however, these can differ depending on whether or not someone actually profits off their actions (i.e., selling copies of your work). In addition to statutory damages and actual damage awards possible under Illinois state laws regarding intellectual property protection rights such as copyrights; punitive damages may also be awarded under certain circumstances.”

For How Long Does a Copyright Last?

You should know that copyright lasts for a long time. This is to protect the copyright holder so that he or she can earn money from his or her work. The length of time that a copyrighted work is protected varies depending on who created it and what type of work it is.

For example, most copyrights last 70 years after an author’s death (or 95 years for works created by corporations). However, if your book includes an element that was previously published elsewhere (i.e., someone else wrote something like it before you), then your book will only be protected by copyright until 2047—just over 25 years after you first published it!


Registering with the US Copyright Office protects creators’ rights, and it’s crucial for all copyright holders to register their work. The Copyright Office has a variety of resources that can help you understand this process and decide whether you should register your work.

Registering your work with the US Copyright Office allows you to:

  • Take legal action against someone who infringes on your copyrighted material. If someone uses or publishes something that’s yours without permission, or if they steal or alter elements from it, this could be considered copyright infringement.


I hope this guide has made it easier for you to understand how to protect your work and how to register a copyright in Illinois. If you have any questions, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

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