Skip to Main Content

Copyright Center

Registering a Copyright

Registering a Copyright


Why should I register my personal works for copyright? 

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, "copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though    registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration."  Please review Bellevue University's Policy Statement (PS 12) on Intellectual Property to see if your material is eligible for copyright registration.  *(Please see the source document of this policy statement through BRUIN before proceeding with copyright registration as this is merely a copy for your convenience.)


What can be copyrighted? 

There are many types of works that can be copyrighted.  They include material such as: literary works, dramatic works, musical works, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic, & sculptural works, motion pictures and other audiovisual works, sound recordings, compilations, derivative works, and architectural works.  Basically, any work that is written down on paper or that is in some type of tangible form is subject to copyright.


What cannot be copyrighted? 

All of the following items cannot be copyrighted:  titles, names, mottos, slogans, ideas, methods, procedures, plots, themes, historical events, common knowledge, facts, lists of ingredients, blank forms, record books, government publications, laws, court opinions, religious revelations, type faces, and utilitarian objects.  However, some of these items can be registered as a trademark.  A trademark is "a name or symbol used to identify goods or services."  From:  How to Register Your Own Copyright, by Mark Warda, (5th ed.).


What items are needed for registering a copyright? 

There are three items that are necessary when registering your copyright.  They include:

     1)  A completed application -- different application forms are available depending on the nature of your work

    2) Copies of your work -- the number of copies needed may depend on the status of the work - published or unpublished

      3) The filing fee - usually around $45


Bellevue University Library Resources:

 Butler, Joy R. (2007).  The permission seeker's guide through the legal jungle.  KF3002 Z9.B88 2007

 Warda, Mark. (2004). How to register your own copyright (5th ed.).  KF3004.Z9 W373 2004

 Wilson, Lee. (2003). The copyright guide: A friendly handbook to protecting and profiting from copyrights (3rd ed.).  KF2995 W475 2003    

Useful Links:

        Bellevue University Policy Statement (PS 12) Intellectual Property        

        Direct Legal

        Registering a Work (FAQ) | U.S. Copyright Office

        United States Copyright Office - Registration