Unlike restrictions on the federal trademark registration symbol ®, as soon as creative expression is reduced to tangible form copyright exists. Typically, you can mark you book, software, etc… with the copyright symbol, the year of publication, the claimant and “all rights reserved.” For example:

© 2020, Smith & Hopen, All Rights Reserved.

However, if you want to recover: (1) statutory damages; (2) court costs; and (3) attorney fees, you need to register your work with the Copyright Office within three (3) months of publication or before actual infringement. Otherwise, you will likely be arguing for “lost profits” which are difficult and costly to quantify in court.

What works are eligible for copyright protection and usage of the copyright symbol?

There are certain requirements for a work to be eligible for copyright protection and thus usage of the copyright symbol. Specifically, there are three requirements for a work to be eligible for copyright protection. One requirement is that the work must be original. In addition, the work must be a work of authorship. Finally, you must fix the work in tangible medium. In conclusion, for a work to be eligible for copyright protection, it must be original, a work of authorship, and fixed in tangible form.

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