Learning how to copyright a blog is the first step to protecting your words. Duplicating content on the Internet is very easy and many people run blogs that simply "scrape" content from other blogs, word-for-word. Although a blog on Blogspot is automatically copyrighted once it's written, additional benefits and protections can be gained by registering a blog's copyright.
A copyright is a type of protection given by federal law to "original works of authorship." The owner of a copyright has an exclusive right to reproduce the work, prepare derivative works, make copies for sale and perform the work publicly. Anyone who violates the copyright, such as by stealing the work and publishing it in a different blog, is breaking the law. Copyright protection does not just apply to books or published works; it extends to original written content created for the Internet, including blog posts.
A blogger's copyright in a blog post arises automatically once the writing is placed in a fixed format, such as published online. Thus, a blogger doesn't have to do anything but publish the blog in order to have a copyright. However, he can add a copyright notice to inform the public that the work is protected. In addition, a blogger can register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. This registration is optional, but provides additional benefits and protections under federal law. By registering a copyright, the blogger qualifies for statutory damages and attorney's fees if the copyright is violated.
A blogger can register a copyright for each individual blog post, but this would quickly become expensive and cumbersome. Instead, bloggers can use a single registration to cover multiple blog posts. There are a couple ways to do this. One way is by first registering all the blog posts under the name of the blog. Then, every three months, send the U.S. Copyright Office a derivative work registration based on the original, but including any additional blog posts that have been written.
Another option is to register an entire blog as a serial with the U.S. Copyright Office, or USCO. The law on this method as it pertains to blogs is still unclear. Some websites have registered this way but it is unknown what type of protection they will receive. In order to qualify as a serial, a blog should be posted regularly and meet all the requirements specified the USCO's Circular 62B.
No matter which method is chosen, a blogger's copyright can be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office online using the eCO service or by mail. As copyright law can be confusing and the forms can require some technical information, hiring an attorney or using an online legal document preparation service is advisable.