The 1976 Copyright Act holds that “original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression” and created or produced after January 1, 1978 automatically have copyright protection. Copyright protection is granted both to published and unpublished works.
Copyright protection is not the same as copyright registration. Registration is a separate process requiring an application, fees, and a non-refundable deposit of the work to the U.S. Copyright Office. For information on registering a work for copyright, visit the U.S. Copyright Office’s Forms Section. Registration is not required for copyright, but it is necessary should the rights holder seek statutory damages and lawyer fees in a copyright infringement lawsuit.