How to Copyright Art with the Library of Congress

How to Copyright Art with the Library of Congress

This article will show you how to easily copyright your material online with step by step instructions on how to create your copyright. “Art” can be expressed in numerous different ways, some of which are dance, music, and painting.

Art is a cultural icon that should be appreciated and protected.  In today’s online world, art can be taken in an instant and shared with millions of people without any credit being given to the person who created it.  Unfortunately, because of this, many artists are hesitant to share their creations.

The legal industry should rally around artists to offer them the protection they need to freely share their gift with people.  As attorneys, we should encourage artists to copyright their music with their local copyright government office.  A list of government offices for copyright can be found at the World Intellectual Property Organization website.  The direct link with numbers of Intellectual Property Offices can be located here.

Many artists do not know the importance of copyrighting their materials.  By copyrighting your material with the United States Copyright Office, you are creating a pathway to protect your creativity and ensuring certain types of legal protection.  This includes establishing a public record of the copyright claim, which allows you to bring an infringement suit in court for works of U.S. origin and, if made within five years of publication establishes the validity of the date of origin.  If you register your work within 3 months after publication, you will qualify for statutory damages and attorney’s fees for violation of the copyright. It also allows you to record the copyright with the U.S. Customs Service for protection of importation of infringing copies.


With the advent of technology, you can EASILY register and file claims at the Electronic Copyright Office (eCO) for literary work, visual arts, sound recordings, performing arts, motion picture/audiovisual work and single issue serials (successive works bearing numerical or chronological designations, intended to continue indefinitely).  The links provided in this article are to the official government website that will make sure that you will receive credit for the artistic work that you have done. You simply register and upload your music/art in an electronic format in 500 MB increments.  If your file is larger than 500 MB’s, you must compress your file or break your work into smaller sections.  A list of the formats that the eCO accepts can be found here.

The eCO database is a government website and the cost of copyrighting your art will generally cost $35 per submitted work.  A submitted work can include up to several pieces of art, if in the same “collection”.

Step 1.

The first step in registering your copyright is to go to the official, government website

Step 2.

Press the link that states New User and following the directions in entering your name and number.

Step 3.

Log into the system and fill out the necessary form!  See link below for example. Good luck; keep creating art and keep it legally protected!

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