Any original piece of work is automatically copyrighted regardless if it is published. This means someone can't use your work without your permission. I have a big problem with other websites doing just that by copying an article I wrote about a famous jewelry designer. It took me awhile to research and write the article so I am extremely irritated when I notice a violator of my copyright.
I find them using Google Alerts and send them a polite email explaining copyrights. Sometimes my polite emails are ignored so I’m going to register this original work to get some teeth behind my request to cease and desist.
1. What It Means to Register Your Arts/Crafts Original Work
Registering your original work publicly record your ownership. If someone steals your original work, and refuses to stop using it, registration may allow you to collect damages and attorney fees should you take the offender to court. Now, am I going to go through the trouble of suing someone using my original work to drive traffic to his or her site? Maybe – it just depends.
If they are using my original work on a site that is monetized using Google AdSense, probably not. Google has a quick and easy way for the webmasters such as me to report other webmasters stealing copy to quickly throw up a monetized AdSense site.The most extreme Google sanction is to remove the source of the offender’s income by removing the ads.
2. Make Sure Your Arts/Craft Intellectual Name is Available
Before you attempt to copyright an original work, make sure you check that the title of the work has not already been copyrighted. On the home page of the US Copyright site click Search Copyright Records > Search the Catalog. Then just follow the prompts.
3. Filing Your Arts/Craft Intellectual Registration Electronically
On the home page of the US Copyright website, on the right hand task bar select How to Register a Work. Every link you’ll need to complete this task is located on this page. Read the eCO Tips pdf file for some important information about file types. This document also includes a link to acceptable file types. My word is written in .docx, which is acceptable.
4. Check Your Arts/Craft Intellectual Claim Type
To make sure your type of registration claim is allowed electronically, read the eCO Frequently Asked Questions pdf file. My article is published electronically so it is an allowable type.
5. Log Into eCO
Before you login, read and save the eCO Tutorial PowerPoint presentation to your desktop - just in case you need to reference it. After you login, you’ll need to register a user name. The password has to have at least one special character.
6. Register Your Arts/Craft Intellectual Claim
On the left hand task bar click Register a New Claim. Review the instructions for the three steps if need be. Click Start Registration. Then just follow the prompts accessing the Help options or reviewing the eCO Tutorial as needed as you register your copyright.
7. Review and Pay
When you’re done filling in all the necessary information, review, make any changes and select Add to Cart. The cost to register a copyright is $35, which is done through pay.gov, a U.S Treasury site. ACH debits and credit cards are accepted for payment.
8. Upload Your Arts/Craft Intellectual File
Your last step is to upload the file containing the material you want to register. It usually takes six months to receive your certificate of registration, however the effective date of registration is the day the Copyright Office receives your properly prepared submission.
And, here is an example of the document you receive after your copyright application is approved and processed.