How to Register a Copyright in Texas


If you’ve ever had the idea to write a book, sing a song or make a movie, you may have wondered: Can I copyright my work? The short answer is yes. But before you can decide whether it’s worth the effort to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, you need to understand how registering works and how it differs from copyrights in Texas. Here’s an overview of what it means for your intellectual property to be copyrighted and how best to protect them

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of the copyright the exclusive right to do and authorize others to do the following:

  • reproduce the work.
  • prepare derivative works based on the work.
  • distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.
  • perform the work publicly (for example, dance).
  • display the copyrighted work publicly (for example, painting).

Copyright does not protect ideas (abstractions), but rather it protects only those expressions that are fixed in some tangible medium. In order to be protected under copyright law you must create something original – it doesn’t matter how simple your creation is as long as it’s your own creation.

How to Register Copyright in Texas

To register a copyright in Texas, you will need to fill out the application form and provide basic information about your work. The application for copyright registration is available here.

You will be required to fill out the following fields:

  • Title of work: This field is where you should enter the title that best describes your creation. It should be as comprehensive as possible and should not contain any numbers or special characters unless necessary (i.e. if there are multiple titles).
  • Author(s): This field asks who created or authored your creation, so include any names here. If applicable, include pseudonyms as well (for example, if “John Smith” wrote under an alias). If no one created/authored this particular work—such as when it was produced automatically or by nature—you can leave this field blank.
  • Author’s address: You must provide an address where anyone interested in contacting you can reach you at. This could be your home address or another contact point that only includes personal information such as an email address or phone number (but not both). Note that providing false information here could result in legal action against one’s person.

What Happens after Copyright Registration?

After you register a copyright, the United States Copyright Office will send you a certificate of registration. You can use this certificate to prove that your work is copyrighted if someone accuses you of infringing on their work.

However, registering your work does not mean that anyone else can’t use or copy it. It just means that if someone does use or copy your work without permission and is sued, then they can’t claim that they believed your work was not protected by copyright law because it wasn’t registered with the US Copyright Office.


Copyright registration is a vital step toward protecting your work. Knowing what you can and cannot do with your copyright is just as important, so make sure you understand the laws before making assumptions. Once you’ve registered your copyright, it’s important not to let it lapse by failing to pay renewal fees on time.

Registering your work may be a tedious process that involves filling out forms and following directions, but if taken seriously, it will be worth the effort in the long run.


The important thing to remember is that the copyright registration process is not difficult and you can do it yourself. You don’t need an attorney or a law firm. The best way to protect your work is by registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office as soon as possible.

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