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Copyright Registration Procedures

Prepared By: Melissa C. Marsh, Los Angeles Business Attorney
Written: January 2001

The registration procedure is not very time consuming, complex or costly but it does require that the applicant take the time to correctly complete the appropriate copyright registration form, pay a non- refundable fee that is presently $30 for each copyright application, and send a deposit copy or copies of the work to the Copyright Office. Once the Copyright Office has approved the copyright registration application, the copyright owner will receive a Certificate of Registration. The copyright registration process usually takes from six months to one year, but in an emergency, such as pending litigation, an expedited registration process that requires special fees can be utilized.

Published and unpublished works can be registered. As a general rule all published works that have value should be immediately registered upon their publication. Registration of unpublished works is a more subjective decision because it will depend upon how widely the copyright owner will distribute the unpublished work, the value of the work, and the likelihood that someone will copy it. However, if the copyright owner has any doubts about registering an unpublished work, then to allay any fears and because the registration process is relatively simple and inexpensive the copyright owner should register the unpublished work.

Copyright registration forms may be obtained from the Copyright Office. The type of work being registered will determine which copyright registration form is required. For example, the TX form is used for published and unpublished non-dramatic literary works such as books and computer programs, the PA form is used for published and unpublished works that will be performed before an audience such as plays and screenplays, the SE form is used to register serial publications such as magazines, newspapers, journals and newsletters, the VA form is used for registering pictorial, graphic and sculptural works such as artwork and photographs, and the SR form is used for sound recordings such as tapes and CDs.

The copyright owner may register the copyrighted work on their own or they can employ the services of a copyright attorney that handles copyright registration matters. The guiding principle on how a particular copyright owner handles the copyright registration procedure should be based on the cost of registering the work but most importantly on insuring that the registration is handled in a timely manner so the work is protected from its date of publication. Should the copyright owner decide to proceed on his own, read the instructions clearly to avoid what may turn out to be a costly or deadly mistake. If you are unsure about any particular aspect of the form, contact an attorney for verification.

If you have any questions, or would like the assistance of attorney Melissa C. Marsh, please call 818-849-5206 or Email: Melissa C. Marsh.

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California business lawyer, Melissa C. Marsh, is based in Sherman Oaks and West Hollywood, and serves individuals and businesses throughout Los Angeles County, including: West Hollywood, Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City, Santa Monica, Burbank, North Hollywood, Valley Village, Toluca Lake, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Encino, and Woodland Hills.

© 2001 Melissa C. Marsh. All Rights Reserved.

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Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site was prepared by Melissa C. Marsh for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided in my articles and alerts should not be relied upon, or used as a substitute for professional legal advice from an attorney you retain to advise or represent you. Your use of this Internet site does not create an attorney- client relationship. Transmission of this article is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. All uses of the contents of this site, other than personal uses, are prohibited. You may print or email a copy of any information posted on this web site for your own personal, non-commercial, use, but you may not publish any of the articles or posts on this web site without the Express Written Permission of Melissa C. Marsh.

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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.