How to Register a Copyright in Vermont


Regardless of whether you’re an aspiring musician or a professional photographer, it’s important to protect your work. In this article, we’ll show you how to register a copyright in Vermont so that no one can steal your original music or photograph without facing legal consequences.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. Copyright exists in both published and unpublished works. You don’t need to register with the Copyright Office to be protected by copyright law—you’re automatically protected as soon as your work is created.[2] For your work to be protected under copyright law you must create:

  • An original work that’s fixed in a tangible medium.
  • A sound recording fixed in a tangible medium.

Step 1: Determine what Needs to be Copyrighted

The first step to registering a copyright is to make sure that your work is eligible for protection. For this reason, it’s important to understand what can be copyrighted and what cannot.

What is Copy­rightable?

A copyright protects original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. Originality means that you must have created something entirely new (for example, by writing an original poem or designing an original dress). Works not subject to copyright include facts, ideas, titles, and short phrases such as “I love you”, useful articles such as furniture, useful designs for articles like clothing or jewelry; sounds recordings, musical compositions (including accompanying words), integrated circu­lars and databases containing information other than computer programs per se making up all or part thereof unless protected under these guidelines at 17 U.S.C § 102(a)(1), motion pictures when fixed on any medium whether now known or hereafter devised even though they may contain elements protected by one or more copyrights, advertising copy whether published alone or embodied in some other work (e.g., products advertised).

Step 2: Figure Out if your Material is Already Copyrighted

As a general rule, you can’t copyright the same work twice. The U.S. Copyright Office maintains records of all works that have been registered with them, so if your material is already copyrighted then you won’t be able to register it at the Vermont Secretary of State’s office. If there is no record of this material being copyrighted in their database, however, then you’re free to proceed with the registration process as described below.

Step 3: Send in the Materials to be Copyrighted

  • Send the materials to be copyrighted to the Copyright Office. To complete your registration, you’ll need to send in two copies of each item that is copyrighted. The Copyright Office provides a standard format for submitting these materials (CCD Form CO). You can also use this form if you’re registering multiple works at once.
  • Include a statement of ownership on both copies. One copy will be kept by the Copyright Office while they process your application. This copy should include the copyright information and any other information related to ownership that applies (for example, if someone else is also involved in creating or producing the work). On this copy, include an attestation statement that reflects ownership rights as well as any relevant terms of use or restrictions on distribution, performance, or display.

Step 4: Confirm that the Copyright has been Registered

  • Check the website of the copyright office ( or the agency to that you sent your materials. It may indicate whether or not your work has been registered.
  • Search a public records database like This is useful if you don’t have access to or know how to use a computer, but make sure that what you find there isn’t too old; some databases only go back for a few years at most, so if anything in your situation changed since then (say, one year ago) then it’s possible that any record would be inaccurate because it hasn’t been updated yet.
  • Ask an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law if they’re unfamiliar with Vermont’s laws regarding copyright registration before proceeding any further with this process.


You can register a copyright for your original music or photograph by following the steps mentioned above.

Whether you’re a musician, author, or photographer, you can register your work with the US Copyright Office for a fee of $35. Registration is not necessary to protect your copyright, but it does give you extra legal rights.

Registering your copyright online is quick and easy. All you have to do is fill out an application form describing your work and pay the fee using a credit card or PayPal account (which must be verified).


Now that you’re armed with the information, you can go forth and register your copyright. We’re excited for you, and we hope it will be a rewarding experience.

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