How to Register a Copyright in Pennsylvania?


Copyright registration is a legal process that grants authors exclusive rights to their creative works, including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. In this blog, we will discuss the steps involved in registering a copyright in the state of Pennsylvania.

Determine Eligibility

The first step in registering a copyright is to determine if the work is eligible for copyright protection. To be eligible, a work must be original and fixed in a tangible form, such as a book, song, or photograph. Originality means that the work must have been independently created by the author and not be a copy of an existing work. The work must also be fixed in a tangible form, meaning that it must be recorded or written down in a way that allows it to be perceived, reproduced, or communicated.

Search for existing Copyrights

Before you can register a copyright, it is important to conduct a search to see if the work is already registered. The Copyright Office provides a search tool that allows you to search for existing copyrights by title, author, and registration number. It is important to conduct a search to avoid any potential legal issues in the future. Even if the work is not registered, it may still be protected by copyright laws. By conducting a search, you can ensure that you are not accidentally violating someone else's rights.

Complete the Copyright Application

To register a copyright, you will need to complete an application and submit it to the Copyright Office along with the fee. The application can be completed online or in paper form. It is important to provide accurate and complete information on the application to avoid delays in the registration process. You will need to provide basic information about the work, such as the title, author, and date of creation. You will also need to provide information about the copyright owner, such as the name and address.

Submit the deposit

You will need to submit a "deposit" of the work being registered with the application. The deposit should be a complete copy of the work and should represent the best edition of the work. It is important to note that the deposit is not returned to the copyright owner, it is kept as part of the Copyright Office's collection.

Pay the Fee

There is a fee for registering a copyright, which can vary depending on the type of work being registered and whether the application is submitted online or in paper form. The fee is non-refundable and must be paid at the time the application is submitted. It is important to note that the fee for online registration is typically less than the fee for paper registration.

Wait for the Copyright Office's Response

After you have submitted your application and fee, the Copyright Office will review the application and deposit. If the application is complete and the deposit is acceptable, the Copyright Office will register the copyright and issue a certificate of registration. Once the copyright is registered, it is added to the public records of the Copyright Office. You can check the status of your application online or by contacting the Copyright Office.

Enforce Your Copyright

Once the copyright is registered, the copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and display the work. If someone else uses the work without permission, the copyright owner can take legal action to enforce their rights. This includes filing a lawsuit to stop the infringement and seeking monetary damages. It is important to note that registering a copyright does not guarantee that your work will not be infringed, but it does provide additional legal remedies if someone does infringe on your rights.


In conclusion, registering a copyright in Pennsylvania is a straightforward process that involves determining eligibility, conducting a search for existing copyrights, completing the copyright application, submitting the deposit, paying the fee, waiting for the Copyright Office's response, and enforcing your copyright. It is important to note that while registering a copyright is not mandatory, it does provide additional legal remedies in the event that someone infringes on your rights. In addition, registering your work also serves as public record of your claim to the copyright. It is also important to note that copyright protection is automatic upon creation of the work, but registration is often necessary for the copyright owner to take legal action for infringement. By following these steps, you can successfully register your copyright in the state of Pennsylvania and protect your creative works.