How to Register a Copyright in Rhode Island?


Copyright registration is a crucial step in protecting your original works of authorship, such as literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. In Rhode Island, the process of registering a copyright is straightforward and can be completed by following a few simple steps. In this blog, we will discuss the process of registering a copyright in Rhode Island, including the necessary forms, fees, and documentation required.

Check Eligibility

The first step in registering a copyright in Rhode Island is to determine whether your work is eligible for copyright protection. In order to be eligible for copyright protection, a work must be original and fixed in a tangible form. This means that the work must be in a form that can be perceived, reproduced, or communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Examples of works that are eligible for copyright protection include:
  • Literary works, such as books, articles, and poetry
  • Dramatic works, such as plays and screenplays
  • Musical works, such as songs and compositions
  • Artistic works, such as paintings, sculptures, and photographs
It is important to note that certain types of works, such as ideas, processes, and facts, are not eligible for copyright protection. Additionally, works that are created by the U.S government or works that are in the public domain, such as works that are no longer under copyright protection, cannot be registered for copyright.

Prepare the Copyright Application

Once you have determined that your work is eligible for copyright protection, you can prepare the copyright application. In Rhode Island, the copyright application is known as Form VA and can be found on the website of the United States Copyright Office. The form must be completed in its entirety and must include the following information:
  • The title of the work
  • The name and address of the author or authors
  • The date of creation of the work
  • A description of the work
  • A deposit of the work, which must include a copy or a phonorecord of the work
It is important to provide accurate and complete information on the application, as any inaccuracies or omissions may result in delays or rejection of the application.

Submit and Pay

After you have completed the copyright application, you will need to submit it along with the appropriate fees to the United States Copyright Office. The fee for registering a copyright in Rhode Island is currently $55 for online applications and $85 for paper applications. It is important to note that the Copyright Office will not process your application until the appropriate fee has been paid. You can pay the fee online via the Copyright Office's eCO system or by mailing a check or money order to the Copyright Office. It is also important to note that if you are registering multiple works at once, you may be eligible for a group registration, which allows for a discounted fee.

Wait for Approval

Once you have submitted your application and fees, the Copyright Office will process your application. This process can take several months, so it is important to be patient. The Copyright Office will review your application to ensure that it is complete and that the work is eligible for copyright protection. If the Copyright Office finds that your application is incomplete or that the work is not eligible for copyright protection, they will send you a letter with instructions on how to correct the problem. It is important to respond promptly to any requests for additional information or corrections to avoid delays in the registration process.

Receive Your Certificate

Once your application has been processed and approved, the Copyright Office will send you a copyright registration certificate. This certificate serves as official evidence of your copyright and includes important information such as the title of the work, the name of the author, and the registration number. It is important to keep your copyright registration certificate in a safe place, as it may be necessary to produce it as evidence of your copyright in the event of a copyright infringement dispute.

Enforce Your Copyright

After you have received your copyright registration certificate, it is important to take steps to enforce your copyright. This includes monitoring for potential infringement of your work and taking appropriate legal action if necessary. It is also a good idea to consider registering your copyright with the U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to help prevent the importation of infringing copies of your work. It is also a good idea to include a copyright notice on your work, which serves as a reminder to others that your work is protected by copyright. The notice should include the symbol ©, the word "Copyright" or the abbreviation "Copr.", the year of first publication, and the name of the copyright owner.


Registering a copyright in Rhode Island is a simple process that can provide important legal protection for your original works of authorship. By following the steps outlined in this blog, including determining eligibility, preparing the copyright application, submitting the application and fees, waiting for processing, and receiving and enforcing your copyright registration certificate, you can ensure that your work is properly protected. Remember that it's important to be accurate and complete on the application, pay the appropriate fee and be patient with the process.