How to Copyright Your Work
You need to copyright your work.
A copyright means you are the owner of your artwork, designs, photos, videos, ebooks, and online courses.
It means people can’t steal them, copy them, or share them.
It’s so important to copyright your work. Once your company starts doing well, you’ll see other companies popping up with similar work. They’ll confuse customers and steal sales. Without a copyright, there’s no way to stop them.
That’s why a copyright is so important.
Here's how to copyright your work…
1. Review Your Work
You can copyright your artwork, designs, photos, website, books, online courses, music, video, product packaging, and source code.
Some work can't be copyrighted. They’re free for anyone to use.
But it’s important for you to copyright your work.
Once your company starts doing well, you’ll see other companies popping up with similar work. They’ll try to confuse your customers and steal your sales.
Without a copyright, there’s no way to stop them.
That’s why I don't recommend selling work that can't be copyrighted.
Here are some words to avoid:
Brand Name + Logo
You’ll need to protect these with a trademark.
Avoid one to two word phrases on artwork or clothing.
They’re usually too generic to protect.
You can’t copyright an idea, formula, or process.
It’s hard to protect fashion design with a copyright. You may be able to protect some ornamental features, like a belt buckle. You may also be able to protect fabric patterns.
You can’t protect a list of ingredients and instructions. You may be able to copyright the background information or writing in a cookbook.
You can’t copyright a book title. You can protect it when it is part of a series.
2. Make Sure You Own It
If you created the work, then you’re the owner.
If you hired someone to create the work, like a graphic designer or photographer, then they’re likely the owner of the work.
I know it sounds crazy. You had the idea. You paid for the work.
But they actually retain ownership of the work.
That means you can’t protect it, you can’t stop copycats, and you may even lose the right to use it someday.
You need a Contractor Agreement to transfer the ownership rights to you.
3. File your Copyright Application
You'll file an application with the Copyright Office.
Once you file the application, you can start protecting your work right away. That means you can send cease + desist letters and stop copycats.
It takes about 6 months to be approved. The copyright office will issue a response and you'll need to work with them to meet the legal requirements.
If there are no issues, your copyright will be approved!