How to Register a Copyright in Massachusetts?


Copyright law exists to protect the rights of creators and authors by giving them exclusive control over their work. This includes the right to reproduce, distribute, and display the work, as well as the right to create derivative works. In Massachusetts, the process for registering a copyright is relatively straightforward, but there are a few key steps that must be followed in order to ensure that your copyright is properly registered.

Determine Eligibility

The first step in registering a copyright is to determine whether or not your work is eligible for copyright protection. In order for a work to be eligible for copyright, it must be original and fixed in a tangible form. This means that the work must be something that you created, and it must be in a form that can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated. Examples of works that are eligible for copyright include books, music, artwork, and photographs.

Prepare and Submit the Copyright Application

Once you have determined that your work is eligible for copyright, you will need to prepare and submit a copyright application. The application can be completed online through the U.S. Copyright Office's website, or it can be completed on paper and mailed in. The application will require you to provide information about yourself, such as your name and address, as well as information about your work, such as the title and the date of creation. You will also need to provide a copy of your work, which can be submitted in the form of a digital file or a physical copy.

Pay the Application Fee

Once your application is complete, you will need to pay a fee in order to register your copyright. The fee varies depending on the type of work and the method of registration, but it is typically around $55 for online registration and $85 for paper registration. It's important to note that the application fee is non-refundable, regardless of whether your application is accepted or rejected.

Wait for the Copyright Office to Process Your Application

After you have submitted your application and paid the fee, the Copyright Office will begin the process of reviewing your application. This can take several months, and it is important to be patient during this time. The Copyright Office will review your application to ensure that it is complete and that all of the required information is included. If they find any issues, they will contact you and ask you to provide additional information or make changes to your application.

Receive the Copyright Certificate

If your application is accepted, the Copyright Office will issue a copyright certificate. The certificate serves as proof that your copyright is registered and that you are the owner of the work. It's important to keep your certificate in a safe place, as you will need to provide it as evidence of your copyright in the event of any legal disputes.

Other things to Consider

It's important to note that registering a copyright is not the same as getting a patent. A patent is a form of legal protection for an invention, whereas a copyright is a form of legal protection for an original work of authorship. Additionally, copyright protection for a work arises automatically when a work is created, and it is not necessary to register a copyright for a work to be protected. However, registering a copyright does provide certain legal benefits, such as the ability to bring a lawsuit for infringement. In conclusion, registering a copyright in Massachusetts is a relatively simple process that can be completed online or by mail. However, it's important to follow the steps carefully and ensure that all of the required information is included in the application. Remember, the process can take several months, and it is important to be patient during this time.

Monitor Your Copyright

Once your copyright is registered, it's important to monitor your work to ensure that it is not being used without your permission. This includes keeping an eye out for unauthorized reproductions, distributions, or displays of your work, as well as any derivative works that may have been created without your consent. If you suspect that your copyright is being infringed upon, it's important to take action as soon as possible. This may include contacting the infringing party to request that they stop using your work, or filing a lawsuit to seek damages for the infringement.


In conclusion, registering a copyright in Massachusetts is an important step for authors and creators to protect their rights to their work. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your copyright is properly registered and that you are able to take action to protect your rights if they are ever infringed upon. Additionally, remember the importance of monitoring your work, and renewing the copyright when necessary to continue protecting your rights.