How to Register a Copyright in New York 


Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic and choreographic works. The owner of the copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute or create derivative works from the copyrighted work. You can protect your original works with U.S. copyright law by registering them with the U.S. Copyright Office (

If you register within five years after your work was created (or before that date if it existed in any tangible form), then no additional formalities are required for your application to be accepted as a valid registration by our staff; however, this does not mean that your registration will be granted automatically or immediately upon submission.

What Works are Eligible for Registration?

If you have an original work that is published or otherwise fixed in a tangible form, you are entitled to copyright protection so long as the work is original and minimally creative.

For example, if you write a novel about your experiences as a professional snowboarder, it would be considered sufficiently creative and original for copyright protection. This means that no one can copy your story without your permission. However, if someone recreates the same story with different characters but keeps all of the details exactly the same, they might not be violating your copyright because they only “reproduced” portions of your work instead of creating something new from scratch.

For a work to be eligible for copyright protection, it must be an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. A work need not be published or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to receive federal protection; however, you must register your copyright before taking legal action against someone who violates your copyright rights.

An example of a non-published work would be a poem written by an author and kept in his or her home office until he or she decides to share it with others. Another example is a sculpture created by an artist that has never been displayed publicly yet still exists as original artwork on his or her own property.

How To Register a Copyright in New York

To register your copyright, go to the U.S. Copyright Office’s website at, fill out the correct forms and pay a fee of $35 per application. You can also submit your application as an online e-filing, which costs an additional $65 but may be worth it if you’re filing multiple documents or want to receive confirmation of receipt right away.

Once you’ve completed the registration process, you will get a certificate of registration in the mail confirming your rights under U.S., international and foreign laws protecting copyrights throughout their term – generally 70 years after the death of an author or creator (though some works are protected for less time).

 Deposit Copies of your Work

You should also deposit two copies of your work with the Library of Congress. Do this either electronically or by sending a copy to their mail address, which is: Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559-6000.

You can also deliver your work in person at the Copyright Office.

Provide More Information if Possible

  • Describe the work in as much detail as possible. Include any background information that is relevant to the work’s creation, such as how it was created (i.e., written or drawn) and what methods were used to develop it.
  • Identify who owns the copyright: you or someone else? If you don’t own the copyright, identify who does and provide them with a copy of your application materials before submitting them to the Library of Congress; otherwise, that person won’t be able to claim credit for their work if someone else tries to steal it later on down the line.
  • Include a copyright notice on all published copies of your work (don’t forget about e-books). Your name should appear in this section along with an indication of when each version was published and where readers can access it online if applicable.
  • Provide brief summaries—or even brief descriptions—of your methods so anyone reading through your application materials will know exactly why they should care about what’s written there without having first read through everything themselves. Include some additional information about yourself: where else have people seen your work before? Are there other publications coming up soon? How do people get in touch with me if they have questions about my creative process? What separates my creations from those made by others who aren’t talking about how their creativity comes together like I am right now?

After registration, if anyone infringes on your copyright, you’ll have 21 years before having to renew it. If you don’t renew within 28 years after your work was created, it falls into the public domain and is free for anyone to use.


If you want to protect your work and obtain legal protection for it, then the first step is to register for a copyright. This can be done by filling out the appropriate forms and paying a fee of $35 per application. You should also deposit two copies of your work with the Library of Congress, which will make it easier to defend against any infringements that might occur in the future.

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